A must read article is Public Defender by Diane Ravitch in the November 19th, 2012 issue of The New Yorker. For many years, Diane Ravitch has supported standardized testing but in the November 19th article she describes negative unintended consequences of such testing. She also raises questions about the Common Standards. One telling point is that 12th grade students are required to write only 20% of personal, imaginative or creative writing. They are to write 80% of non-fiction.  Why should all students be required to write what businesses say is important?

One purpose of Charter Schools is to provide different options for students. But if all schools have to follow the same standards how can Charter Schools or specialized schools like the Bronx High School of Science or the Martin Luther King High School in NY that prepares students to work in opera continue?

There is no goal in the Common Standards for teaching literature that deals with students’ emotional responses to what they read! They have to identify theme, compare characters, etc. But noting about emotional responses.

I did not see any goals related to the use of jargon and cliches in the Common Standards. But I did not read every word in them because they are so full of jargon and cliches that even if they have a goal related to these types of words the authors of the Standards themselves do not meet this goal.

In the article, the author, David Denby, mentions that Diane Ravitch did her doctorate at Teachers’ College, Columbia University. Though if we follow the rule an apostrophe is necessary after Teachers, in the more than 100 years that TC has been in existence, none of its publications use the apostrophe. Teachers College, Columbia is the correct usage. If students took a standardized test and they had to choose between Teachers’ College and Teachers College, they would loose points if they choose the item that follows the rule. So much for so called standardized tests.

The focus on language and math and history and the lack of focus on art, music, sports, crafts, information technology, to name just a few areas that are ignored to me is a tragedy. The fact that both US parties support the so called reforms means that they themselves do not meet any of the goals in the Common Core Standards because here and there in the document we are told that students have to learn to question what they read and see how many of the arguments in documents are false claims.

I think that the so called reforms are likely to increase failure as does Diane Ravitch.

Another must read to show a much richer set of goals which contain hardly any jargon or any cliches is Neil Postman’s The End of Education.

He never uses words like scaffolding which is one of the favorites of the authors of the Common Core Standards.

Read the Common Core Standards on the internet if you have trouble falling asleep. As you read them you will fall asleep in a heartbeat!

All the best.

John