Common Core Debate Video

Common Core Debate Video

Common Core Debate Video

There’s a very nice, evenhanded discussion of some of the big issues in educational policy at blogging heads TV.  Here’s the link

Our two panelists like the common core as an approach to curriculum.  They particularly like the rigor of the common core.  However, there are many questions about the implementation of the testing around the common core.  These objections, which are shared both by Teacher Unions and some “reform” minded teachers are that the instructional materials aren’t ready, the PD for teachers hasn’t even begun, the quality of the tests is unproved, and the robo-grading of the tests is simply not ready for prime time at all. 
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The two panelists make an important point that some testing is widely accepted, such as AP testing and they link that to the perceived quality of the tests.  Therefore proponents of the common core have to make sure that the tests linked to it are high quality tests.  This is a difficult problem, especially as everyone seeks to keep the cost of testing down.  The cost of testing is why so many tests are multiple choice oriented; it’s cheaper to grade them. 

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There’s an interesting discussion about tracking and math.  The idea is that we have a difficult time tracking in this country because tracking has such a long history of being overlaid with racism.  However, someone who is going to be an air condition repair person simply doesn’t need Algebra 2.  So why should Algebra 2, a very abstract kind of math, be a great stumbling block to student achievement in non-math areas or for people who aren’t going to a four year college?  We have no good answer for that.  I can say with great certainty at CITE that no one uses Algebra 2 math or  pre-calculus or calculus for anything at all. 

One last thing I want to highlight is some local news. New York City currently uses a rubric that has 22 elements of effectiveness in it for doing teacher observations.  That’s, no duh, too many.  Principals respond by going through the motions in doing the observations and write ups (what a shock).  NYC is now starting to have meetings to shrink the elements of effective teaching to 7 aspects.  If they really shrink the form and make it more usable, that would be a very good thing.  Then principals might actually be able to spend some time coaching teachers to be more effective.  Coaching teachers, obviously, should be a key part of a principal’s job. 

So check out the video.  It’s good.  

Jared Gellert is the executive director for the Center for Integrated Training and Education . CITE trains teachers, administrators, and counselors in NYC and Long Island (including Suffolk).

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