A recent recurring refrain around and about the comments sections is the notion that the Common Core standards are, in and of themselves, quite fine, and if we could just uncouple them from the testing and implementation regimens, all will be well. The standards themselves are an improvement so let's build on that opportunity, and not stand in the way of fine new standards just because their ugly testing step-cousin is trying to sneak through the door with them.
The Common Core standards could really work - we just need to get rid of the high stakes tests...
I can remember thinking like that. I can remember looking at the standards and thinking, "Many of these are actually fine." (I should note that I teach at the high school level, not elementary.) In fact, one of my earliest complaints about the CCSS was that they were one more example of folks telling us to do things that we already did. And I don't think there's a teacher alive who wouldn't relish the promise of freedom to pursue the standards in any way they deemed best.
"You know," I thought at one point. "If it were possible to just use these standards as a rough guide to follow as a thought best, and we got the government to stop testing, I could live with this."
And that was the moment when I knew that, no, the Common Core standards were not pure of heart and I would never learn to love them.
Because what would decoupling look like, after all? What incantation would exorcise the testing demons? Would teachers go to government and say, "Thank you for these guidelines. Trust us-- we will use our best professional judgment and produce the best-educated generation of students ever. Just step back and watch us work." No, that would never work, and it would never work because the CCSS are not for us. They never were.
People who like the standards are looking at them as a guide, as that helpful assurance that teachers sometimes like that we are on the right page. We like standards. We like standards like drivers like white lines. And we think of standards as a map, a tool to help us find our way. To us standards say, "Here's a map. We trust you to find your way."
Not the Common Core. The primary purpose of the CCSS is to call teachers out. It says, "Here's what you are supposed to be doing, or else. And we'll be checking up on you every step of the way." It is not a tool to be used by teachers; it's a tool to be used on them.
The Common Core standards say, "Here's what you must prove you're accomplishing." If you tell your students that you expect them to study and learn the chapter about Torquemada and 15th Century Spain, they know there's a test coming. Everyone expects the Spanish Inquisition. The CCSS are not about helping us teach; they are about holding us accountable, so they are meaningless without testing (and some parts are meaningless with it).
Since they were designed to hold teachers accountable, they were designed to be tested.
He's got a lot more on this, go over and read the whole thing.
But the main point is, the standards and the tests were developed to work together (as were the teacher evaluation systems tied to test scores and the data collection programs like inBloom.)
You cannot have one of these criteria dropped and have the others work the way they're supposed to.
The education reformers who imposed this crap on America know this.
That's why they're desperately trying to defend the standards, the curriculum being developed for the standards, the tests that go along with the standards, the evaluation systems that hold teachers accountable for those scores and the data collection projects that collect all the data for accountability purposes.
It all goes together - it's all part of the same plan.