Going once, going twice, SOLD!

March 17, 2010

Wow, so much is going on today. While our current State School Superintendent is in Washington, D.C. turning over control of our public education system in Georgia, those of us back here in the trenches are trying to figure out the mess that we have received from her department this week.

Several years ago the Georgia Department of Education (GADOE) began implementing its new, streamlined and rigorous curriculum the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS). We still have two years remaining to complete fully implementing the mathematics GPS and we receive word this week that we will begin training teachers in the new national common core this August?  Give teachers a break, they haven’t even become confidently grounded in the GPS and you are going to change it? It’s no wonder teachers are frustrated, stressed, and burned out.

Valerie Strauss a reporter with the Washington Post wrote an enlightening piece on the “Common Core” a few days ago. It highlights many of the objections that I have including:

  • Why were these developed in such secrecy?
  • Why weren’t educators from our state included in the development of these? Maybe they were, but because it was kept so “secret” most educators in the state were completely unaware.
  • Where is the rigor? The Common Core Standards are extremely vague.

Click here for a complete text of Strauss’ column

 Strauss also cites Linda Darling-Hammond’s latest book “The Flat World and Education: How America’s Commitment to Equity Will Determine Our Future.” Strauss states that Darling-Hammond, who served as Barack Obama’s chief education adviser during the presidential transition, makes clear that this isn’t the case.

 In her book, Darling-Hammond explains how Finland, now widely hailed by U.S. policymakers, turned around its school system not by establishing a highly centralized national system with detailed national standards, but by shifting “to a more localized system in which highly trained teachers design curriculum around very lean national standards, and where all assessments are school-based, designed by teachers, rather than standardized.

Maybe we should take a closer look at Finland’s turn around model. I imagine when we do will find the key to their success was the local control not the federal mandates and federal assessments.

Let’s restore hope for schools!

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