Change is hard – but this has almost nothing to do with “botched” implementation. Or standards. “Implementation” is a catch-all complaint that union leaders have often—and successfully—used to extract themselves from commitments they no longer wish to keep.
Aiding in the rollout of Common Core is just such a commitment. The
unions routinely complain that states are moving too fast in
transitioning to the new standards, but the truth is that educators have
already had years to prepare. In New York, for instance, the
standards were adopted in 2010—four years ago. Implementation was always
going to be difficult and, with a change of this magnitude, no one
could ever be 100 percent ready. No matter how long the lead-up time,
it’s easy to balk when you are staring at the year when it all counts.
If four years is not sufficient, how long is? Eight years? Ten?
Stretching out the timeline amounts to nothing more than a slow pull of
the band aid.
This has everything to do with politics and job protection. On
the right, debate about Common Core has been clouded by the Tea Party’s
dislike of anything associated with the federal government. The debate
on the left is clouded, too. There, the discussion about Common Core is
really a discussion about accountability in the form of stronger teacher
evaluation systems that factor in student learning results alongside
other measures. The standards themselves are incidental. Unions hoped
that the occasion of Common Core (and their support for it) might
present an opportunity to roll back or dilute teachers’ accountability
for results. (Never mind that, even when students begin to be measured
against tougher, Common Core-aligned tests, there’s little evidence to suggest a drop in scores will put teachers at any real risk.)
As it has become clearer that no such accountability holiday is
forthcoming—and that educators, in addition to schools, will be on the
hook for advancing students toward the standards—the union withdrawal
has been a foregone conclusion. Many policy leaders were awaiting this
moment for a year or more.
- There will be more political fallout ahead. The long-term implications of the loss of the unions from the Common Core coalition are meaningful. It’s easy to exaggerate the short-term effect of the NEA announcement or the AFT announcement that preceded it. Unions were already fighting accountability measures associated with Common Core at the state and district level. But officially, it was possible for the unions to claim some form of alliance with the Obama administration, however strained it might have been. That’s no longer possible. The unions are now taking aim at the administration’s central education policies. There isn’t much ground left for alliance in this fractured marriage. Going forward, the question is whether the unions hold the Democratic Party to its own views or seek new political patrons. If you need an illustration of what the future may hold, look no further than my home state of Illinois, where the state NEA affiliate is spending heavily on behalf of a Republican primary candidate for governor who is a member of ALEC, while withholding support for the incumbent governor, a Democrat, who crossed them on pension reform. If Barack Obama could run for a third term as president, it’s a very good question whether he could garner an NEA or AFT endorsement. . . and whether he’d accept one.
Does this sound like a guy looking to fix the "chaos," "confusion," and "anxiety" over Common Core in NY State, as Governor Cuomo himself described the environment in a statement he made to the press yesterday, or a guy ready to push through the CCSS reforms no matter what and blame any problems on teachers and unions?
Remember, Cuomo put the Executive Vice President and General Counsel of The New Teacher Project, Dan Weisberg, on the Common Core panel, so what the president of The New Teacher Project is writing on his official TNTP blog matters.
Want to make a bet EVP Dan Weisberg, member of Cuomo's Common Core panel, feels the same way that Daly does over CCSS?
Want to make a bet Governor Cuomo knew that before putting Weisberg on the panel?
Want to bet that's the reason Weisberg is on the panel?