Opposition to Common Core from Chicago Teachers Union

by Dave Schuler on May 8, 2014

The Chicago Teachers Union has voted to oppose the Common Core standards:

The Chicago Teachers Union has voted to oppose the Common Core Standards, a rigorous set of educational benchmarks implemented by Illinois law and in many other states.

The union announced its House of Delegates voted Wednesday to urge the city’s teachers to join the “growing national opposition to the Common Core State Standards, saying the assessments disrupt student learning and consume tremendous amounts of time and resources for test preparation and administration,” according to a new release.

If you haven’t been following the controversy, the “Common Core standards” are a set of K-12 educational standards for what kids should know about English and math at the end of each grade level. It has attracted both support and opposition. It’s been a bête noire of conservative talk show hosts for some time but more recently it has attracted opposition across a much broader spectrum of opinion. Most states have officially accepted the Common Core. Texas and Virginia, notably, have not and Indiana has formally withdrawn from them.

To my untutored eye it would appear that governors, textbook publishers, and E-school professors are the natural constituencies for the Common Core while school boards and teachers are their natural enemies since they intentionally remove discretion and consequent power from both groups.

Several reasons have been proposed for the influential CTU’s move. Not the least is that the CTU has suffered a number of setbacks over the last year and its members may simply be angry and oppositional.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

PD Shaw May 8, 2014 at 4:05 pm

I don’t understand what the issue is with common core. And I think I’ve read that Indiana is still essentially using common core with some modifications. I will say that we were promised by our son’s grade school teacher that there would be a lot more detail about our son’s progress, and she made it sound like a lot of additional work for her, but in the report cards there are more blanks than there used to be.

Dave Schuler May 8, 2014 at 5:02 pm

I’m unable to speak authoritatively about that. The CTU says it’s too rigid and spends too much time on tests.

I would think that people who want more latitude in educational standards should want a tighter labor market since in a slack labor market using test scores as a sorting mechanism is an inevitability. Oddly, the same people who want loose educational standards also seem to want a slack labor market. Self-defeating.

michael reynolds May 8, 2014 at 5:02 pm

PD:

I can’t tell whether the problems with CC are more about CC as it is, or CC as confused teachers imagine it to be. We are targeting one of the projects I’m working on at Common Core, but I’m not sure any of us knows quite what that means.

PD Shaw May 8, 2014 at 8:35 pm

@michael, perhaps you should target one project at Common Core, and one project as an alternative to Common Core, and hire different designers to do the covers for each.

Andy May 8, 2014 at 10:35 pm

I’ve got mixed feelings about common core and other “standards.” While I think there needs to be “standard” for what students should know and students should be tested along the way to enforce that standard, I don’t particularly like the one-size-fits-all methods to get there – primarily the use of commercially purchased and administrator mandated curriculum.

steve May 9, 2014 at 8:36 am

IIRC, about half of teachers leave the profession altogether in about 5 years. That makes the labor market a bit odd.

Steve

Cstanley May 9, 2014 at 9:54 am

The two criticisms, from what I’ve seen, are based on the top down, federal control and the controversy over assessments.

As a survivor of New Math and mother of a child who barely survived a GA math curriculum experiment, I’m wary of these initiatives. I think time and money would be better spent on learning how kids actually learn, and working within the universities that produce teachers to develop best practices. My gut feeling is that these best practices will require more individualizations, not more conformity.

Andy May 9, 2014 at 1:42 pm

Agree completely Cstanley.

Cstanley May 9, 2014 at 5:20 pm

Dave, here is an angle to the Common Core story that I hadn’t heard before, and seems to touch on many of your areas of interest (education, technology, data privacy):

http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2014/04/24/what_the_failure_of_inbloom_means_for_the_student_data_industry.html

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