City Journal Summer 2014

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Summer 2014
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Charles Upton Sahm
Cutting to the Core « Back to Story

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http://www.southbronxschool.com/2013/03/breaking-news-lucy-calkins-and-her.html

at last.....content.
This is indeed good news, but the Core Knowledge Sequence does a lot more than produce test score results and competent readers. It exposes children to interesting, important, beautiful material.

To neglect this point is to portray the curriculum strictly in utilitarian terms. Then, because of the utilitarian emphasis, people balk at such a curriculum.

Too many people perceive a specific, sequenced curriculum as mind-numbing and creativity-deadening. It does not have to be that way at all. The CK Sequence initially appealed to me because of its substance. There's so much in it that can stimulate students' imagination and intellect. Later I taught at a Core Knowledge school and saw that it actually did so.
SWK, the schools chose not to adopt it for the current school year because its too late in the academic year to do so. The NYCDOE announced the adoption of Core in February 2013. The standardized testing using Core skills will be done in May 2013. The students have been in school since September 2012. The NYCDOE should have adopted Core back when school started!
Too bad most NYC schools are choosing to NOT adopt any of the recommended curricula and to stick with R&W workshop.
Sol Stern said something good about them. That is news !!

Also, btw, it should not require a revolution for educators to agree that vocabulary development is a cumulative process. Try helping with a 7th Grade science homework assignment, where kiddo doesn't know what the words mean.

Read the words -> Understand the message -> Apply what you know to something in the world.

How hard is that ?
Goodness! Good news for a change. How strange.
I taught English in Barcelona in the 1990's, before learnt any Spanish - immersion lessons they called it. I saw no difference in qualification out come, PET, First Certficate between when I first arrived with little Spanish and later when I had quite good Spanish (first wife was Spanish).
In a multicultural area either you stream the children by first language(impossible), or you provide extra support and teach in English. Stream children in different classes by ability, don't hold the brightest back, who are pre-dominantly Asian (so no racial drum banging, please!).
My electrician father taught me maths, my social worker mother English, the school showed me few value education.
Do the bus drivers and handy man need to know polynomials? No, concentrate on good basic English, maths and reading, general knowledge and practical shop skills. The skills to get a job and in time get to me a foreman or supervisor.
It doesn't take a brain surgeon to be in a classroom and see that we have failed another generation of children because we do not teach phonics and vocabulary. I am so glad we are FINALLY getting a curriculum!!!
Diane R. Pagen, LMSW April 22, 2013 at 9:15 AM
As a tutor in immigrant-rich Brooklyn, I tutor children who are blessed to have two languages in their lives; however, these students are at a great disadvantage in NYC schools, since the curriculum continues to pretend that the students are all primary speakers of English. In addition to improving instruction, programming needs to be altered to account for second language acquisition needs of these kids, who are hearing and speaking Russian, Ukranian, Hindi, and Spanish at home, not English.
OK, "something to celebrate"? I'm un-like-ing this page. You need some facts, not just rah-rah CORE stuff. Too many other instances of these programs being panned by experienced educators and to much else involved in CORE that has little or nothing to do with education.
Well, it's nice to see that even parents that use the school system as child care center would prefer their kids at least learn to read. Maybe change is possible. I learned to read at home, motivated by my mother. So it wasn't that important for my teachers to try to teach me much. If only I would have known to pay more attention in math. Turns out those geeks we used to tease are our bosses now.
Since this author wants to continue to ignore all the legal aspects affecting the real Common Core classroom implementation and is in charge of NYC state and local partnerships, are you aware CCSSI and Race to the Top are tied to reenvisioning federal revenue sharing? To force redeveloping the Inner Cities? http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/well-no-wonder-no-one-listens-to-common-core-complaints-if-it-is-tied-to-federal-revenue-sharing/

And citing to a Brookings publication on the Common Core should come with a disclaimer that Brookings is where the Regional Equity Movement now known as Metropolitanism is headquartered. I know because I have read Bruce Katz's books and heard him speak. And had politicos at my table intrigued that I recognized the links between Regional Equity and the Common Core.

It's not a conspiracy, it's an excuse for government direction of the economy. It's lousy for the economy but lucrative for cronies and feeds government fiefdoms of control. Expanding politicians' coffers.
We need to stream children. You can say it destroys confidence, but does not reaching the grade year after year boost confidence?
Or we can just create third and fourth rate universities, full of less academic students who would be better off with a trade, less debt and a job.
The arguement that in life they will have to mix with the wider community is true, but one will be the well paid executive and the other will be the waiter. The pair may then be good friends in a neutral setting like a fishing club or atheletics club, but they will not mix in an academic setting like a work project, or at least not on an equal footing. An engineer and a foreman concrete worker, may both be work buddies and respect each others opinions, but they have different roles and different strengths within their roles.
I taught at University and am a senior trainer now, one of my best friends is a plumber, his wife and mine get on well, they are like uncle and aunt to my children. We run (train)together and like a barbeque and a beer. We don't do maths together, I showed him to do diminishing balance depreciation, when he asked me, the difference in ability showed and he now asks his accountant to do it and pays him. He felt a bit dumb, I am his friend and an experienced teacher, the feels were his, not mine. If we had been in the same class at school we would not be friends, I would have regarded him "as holding me back, slowing the class down" (my words). He would have disliked me as "one of the clever ones, who didn't want to wait and give him a chance" (his words). I play down my qualfications and do not discuss education. Streamed in classes academically, but in the sports team together we would have been friends as we are now. Put in the same class, we would not full stop.
An anecdote is not a study, but I do believe streaming children helps them find their level. My youngest brother and I left school at 17 without much education, he started a traed and by a fluke got an apprenticeship in Dental Technology, at 38 he went back to study Dentistry and is 1 year off being a Dentist. His education who have benifited from not being in a one size fits all class and going through things more slowly. I was bored with the pace, and did a lot worse than I should have at school. Left to work in my father's construction company and did the the Building Dipoma at night, aged 23, found I got straight A's in Economics and got into university at 24 y.o. I thank God I didn't do a little better at school and do a fourth rate Arts degree, debt to the eyeballs and a basically useless degree.
Good grief. You have no idea the negatives of Common Core. Try this: http://ohioansagainstcommoncore.com/2013/03/debunking-nine-common-core-myths/
Quote from the article: "... they (the Common Core State Standards) delineate what children should know at each grade level ..."

Question -- which students? The less able to learn? The "normal" student? Or the easily able to learn student?

Pick any one of the three student groups, then wonder what happens to the students in the other two groups.

Usually, the state one-size-fits-all standards designers develop their Core Standards around the "normal" students.

Thus, the less-able-to-learn students get confused and fall behind the "normal" students, and in so doing they suffer self-esteem, self-worth problems.

The easily-able-to-learn get bored and often develop bad attitudes toward learning in general, or they often get a sense of superiority and egoism.

Result: One third of the students have a standard they can achieve, and the other two thirds have a standard they either can't achieve in the time frame allotted or "overachieve" and wish they could get out of the public school trap and go do a lot more with their abilities.

How could any person take pride and receive praise from their peers for developing standards that only apply to one third of the students in a coercive educational system?

Suggestion: go to a private or internet school of your choice and allow the student to learn at her/his pace. He/she will get much farther in life. And you, the parent, socialize your child; you are better at it than some bureaucrat (teacher) or bureaucratic system.

Don't go to a public school where your child is forced to learn at some pace developed by a person who not only does not know your child, but also is motivated by the desire to be praised by his peers whether your child learns or not. Also, think of the power that person must feel when his design of a standard is selected by his peers.

All at the expense of your child.
Gilbert W. Chapman April 21, 2013 at 4:30 PM
I was a bit surprised, and disappointed, to see the author repeatedly used the word 'kid' as a synonym for 'children' within his otherwise excellent article,

When we older people were in elementary school in the fifties, teachers reprimanded us for using the word 'kid', and would remind us that a 'kid' is a young goat.

Try 'youngsters' the next time . . . OK? :)