David Coleman’s College Ready Corps

In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities,

but in the expert’s there are few 

~ Shunryu Suzuki

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Hard to imagine an applicant for a teaching job explaining to the panel of educators interviewing him/her that he really doesn’t give a shit what his students or their parents think or feel…or joking about the fact that she really isn’t qualified to teach the position she is applying for.

Yet the chief architect of the Common Core which was initially adopted and implemented by 45 states explained at a teacher conference in 2011,

forgive me for saying this so bluntly, is, as you grow up in this world you realize people really don’t give a shit about what you feel or what you think.

Coleman admitted during another speech in 2011, 

Student Achievement Partners, all you need to know about us are a couple things. One is we’re composed of that collection of unqualified people who were involved in developing the common standards…

And now let’s get to what do we mean tonight about what you should be doing over the next two years regarding the standards. Let’s start with math and then do literacy. I’ll probably spend a little more time on literacy because as weak as my qualifications are there, in math they’re even more desperate in their lacking.

Even more troubling than Coleman’s lack of classroom experience and lack of respect for diverse learners and thinkers, is the fact that the Common Core demands students learn primarily from informational text, yet its supporters ignore countless informational texts (like the excerpt below) which reveal that the Common Core college prep program will not “ensure” career readiness for ALL students.

Dakota Blazier had made a big decision. Friendly and fresh-faced, from a small town north of Indianapolis, he’d made up his mind: He wasn’t going to college.

“I discovered a long time ago,” he explained, “I’m not book smart. I don’t like sitting still, and I learn better when the problem is practical.” But he didn’t feel this limited his options—to the contrary. And he was executing a plan as purposeful as that of any of his high-school peers…

College-educated Americans tend to know mostly other college-educated Americans and to think that is the norm, if not universal. In fact, just three in 10 Americans age 25 or older have bachelor’s degrees. Another 8% are high-school dropouts, leaving the overwhelming majority—more than 60%—in circumstances something like Mr. Blazier’s…

Americans have a host of postsecondary options other than a four-year degree—associate degrees, occupational certificates, industry certifications, apprenticeships. Many economists are bullish about the prospects of what they call “middle-skilled” workers. In coming years, according to some, at least a third and perhaps closer to half of all U.S. jobs will require more than high school but less than four years of college—and most will involve some sort of technical or practical training…

As Mr. Blazier knows, there are plenty of opportunities for people like him to get ahead. Despite our digital-age prejudices against practical skills, Americans are quietly reinventing upward mobility.

This is especially true in a trade like welding, where demand can sometimes seem insatiable. The average age in the field is 54, and the American Welding Institute predicts openings for more than 400,000 workers by 2024—welders and others who need welding skills, such as pipe fitters, plumbers and boilermakers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics pegs the average wage at $36,300 a year, but anecdotal evidence suggests that is the low end of what’s possible. JV Industrial says that it pays more like $75,000, with some employees earning more than $100,000. In the burgeoning shale industry, in Texas and Appalachia, welders can earn as much as $7,000 a week.

Like construction, nursing is a time-tested path to the middle class, and it has many of the same hallmarks: easy on-ramps, goal-oriented job training and a series of ascending steps, with industry-certified credentials to guide the way.

The profession is already growing robustly. From 2000 to 2010, the number of registered nurses increased by 24%. But the aging of the baby-boom generation will sharpen demand even as it reduces supply: Roughly a third of today’s nurses are more than 50 years old….

Today’s conventional wisdom about economic mobility in the U.S. is gloomy and growing gloomier. We’re told that good jobs are disappearing, that less educated workers have bad work habits, that the U.S. is falling behind other countries.

What’s strange is that this isn’t what you hear from many people who are working toward the middle class: people training, saving and in other ways striving to make it, who invariably see more dynamism and possibility…

Who’s right? Surely, the answer is up to us—and not just the strivers alone. One place to start would be by showing some respect for practical training. As millions of Americans know, even in a knowledge economy, countless valuable career skills can be learned outside a college classroom.

Tamar Jacoby, “This Way Up: Mobility in America” The Wall Street Journal 7/18/14

The Common Core ELA Standards with their emphasis on Close Reading of complex informational text do not address the work-based literacy needs of countless careers including welders and nurses who need to Read With Understanding

Imagine an ICU nurse responding to a doctor, when asked about the status of a critically ill patient…

Well, I’m not really sure if the patient is better or worse since I did not review yesterday’s chart as that would be providing context and using prior knowledge to help me understand his current condition, and I haven’t yet administered his medicine because I am still dissecting and deconstructing the craft and structure of your orders.

Seems to me the education and political leaders who have spent hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars implementing and assessing the Common Core boondoggle, should re-evaluate their own decision-making and critical thinking skills before they try to improve the skills of K-12 students.

 

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9 thoughts on “David Coleman’s College Ready Corps

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