Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Saturday, March 8, 2014

EngageNY Modules Make No Sense - An Emblem For Common Core As A Whole

This is the "rigor" of the Common Core in crystallized form.

It's needlessly complex and makes no sense.

It does, however, make children cry and parents scratch their heads and wonder what the hell is going on in schools these days.

It is also a great symbol for why so many parents and teachers are rising up against the Common Core State (sic) Standards - not just the tests aligned to the standards or the teacher evaluation systems that rate teachers based on the CCSS-aligned tests but the the Common Core State (sic) Standards themselves.

In my school, the 9th grade teachers are spending endless days teaching "The Tell-Tale Heart" - the SED EngageNY module says teachers should spend eight days teaching these lessons, but the lessons themselves take much longer than that.

Students are asked the same kinds of questions over and over and over ad nauseaum about each paragraph - here's an example:

What information does the narrator reveal about himself in paragraph 1?
Who is the narrator speaking to? 
What does Poe’s use of punctuation in the first sentence reveal about the narrator?
During what part of the action does Poe begin his story? 
What is the effect of Poe’s choice to begin the story after the action has taken place? 
What is the narrator's purpose in asking the two questions in paragraph 1?
Personal responses of any kind are not valued in these lessons - it's all about the text and the text alone.

Students are then given "Accountable Independent Reading" assignments for homework in which they are required to 

Instruct students to reread and annotate paragraph 1 to gather evidence about whether the narrator is mad. Instruct students to preview paragraph 2 and annotate using the annotation codes from Module 9.1. 

That's Day One of the lesson, but it actually takes longer than one class day to complete.

By the end of the lessons on Poe, students want to bury the Tell-Tale Heart in the floor and run from school screaming.

But it gets worse for them, because there is an Emily Dickinson poem waiting on the other side that they will find incomprehensible and will spend 10 days on (though the SED EngageNY module has five lessons based on Dickinson's "I felt a funeral in my brain," the actual lessons take closer to two weeks to complete.)

As I pointed out earlier in the school year with this post, these EngageNY modules are steadily killing the creativity and energy children and teachers have for school and learning.

You still see this jive in the media that the Common Core are a more rigorous set of standards that will help students be college and career ready when they graduate high school.

The truth is, the "rigor" of the Common Core is causing "rigor mortis" of the soul for students, parents and teachers and the only thing these standards are doing for children is preparing them to drop out of school because they hate every second they're in a classroom.

These are the standards that Governor Cuomo and State Senator John Flanagan support, these are the standards that they think can be better implemented if only John King and Merryl Tisch can get their acts together.

But these standards cannot be better implemented because they were written by people as delusional about what children need to learn in school as the narrator of Poe's "Tell-Tale Heart" is delusional about himself.

In the end, the Common Core State (sic) Standards will end up in the graveyard of education reforms past, but there is going to be a lot of damage done to children, parents, teachers, schools and public education as a whole first.


  1. Now lookie here...these maggots are only into short term BIG leveraged profits. This is the "American" corporate business model. Falsify results, "make a killing" the likes of which is previously unknown to mankind, so after five years , these maggots will have made their money, bought their second or third island compound to shield them from the rabble they've just destroyed. The "killing" they are also making are our kids.

    1. The corruption is all connected, as the chart with the Gates Foundation funding to all the CCSS proponents that is making it's way around the Internet shows.

  2. At my school, I have two 9th grade classes where I am required to teach to the modules. They are so dry and tedious, that on days when I follow the curriculum (knowing I could be popped in on for an informal eval) my classroom is completely lifeless. Imagine spending a whole period asking almost the same question 10 times, while covering only 5 sentences of a story students clearly get and are ready to move forward with. The insane part is, that the lessons are so rigid and scaffolded that they are in fact not challenging at all. The lessons are designed to get students to see stories in such a specific way and with no room for interpretation, so that when a unit finally finished you get 34 of the exact same essay. We are not teaching students to analyze literature, or even to form arguments, we are teaching them how to be drones who follow tedius step by step processes that require no critical or independent thought whatsoever. Also, Module 1 for 10th grade is out now, and it is more of the same crap.

    1. I can tell that the same is true for the middle school modules. My daughter sat through five weeks of a speech by Caesar Chavez. She said that after the first few days, everyone in the class, including the teacher, just tuned out. She felt like they just kept doing the same lesson over and over and over.

    2. Well said, both of you. I've used both of your comments for a new post: