Expecting students to spend countless hours trying to solve Common Core math word problems is not the same as helping them to become more effective problem solvers.
Insisting students think critically about text that they must stay “connected to” is not the same as helping them to develop critical thinking skills.
That explains how students in China and other authoritarian nations may excel at critical thinking on the PISA exam yet grow up to be compliant and obedient citizens who do not challenge oppressive government policies.
It is not conformity that has been the engine to power America’s economy but creativity. It is courageous inventors, innovators, and entrepreneurs who have advanced our economy over the years.
These leaders don’t fit educational molds, they break them. They don’t learn or think about problems the same way as everyone else. They will often improvise and innovate and they are more inclined to break with tradition and “rules”, than they are to follow them.
Seems silly almost trivial to continually fret over American students’ international rankings on the PISA test, when American employers continue to bemoan the lack of soft skills in their new hires.
A much more meaningful test of college readiness and global competitiveness would measure student creativity, courage, integrity, curiosity empathy, imagination, leadership, optimism, self-reliance, self-confidence, risk-taking etc.
Common Core evangelists have a selective love affair with data as they choose to focus on certain data points that lend credence to their “sky is falling” assessment of American education while ignoring other more significant data points.
Ed reformers continually praise the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean education systems because of their students’ consistently high PISA scores but they have publicly expressed little interest or concern regarding data revealing higher suicide rates in these nations and even among Asian Americans.
Here’s a good Common Core math problem;
How many new jobs will actually be created for all the Common Core college graduates when our monthly jobs report continues to show steady growth in service industry such as retail, fast food, hospitality, transportation along with construction and manual trades as the traditionally middle class and college graduate positions in government, finance, and other professions continue to decline or stagnate?
Why are the ed reformers so focused on PISA scores and the supposed education crisis in America, but they pay little attention to data revealing a growing student loan crisis in America….perhaps it is not too late to add financial literacy standards to the Common Core?
Public schools in America should primarily serve the academic, emotional, social, and vocational needs of our children and uphold the political and social values and ideals that gave birth to our nation.
Ed reformers efforts to impose a one size fits all standardized education program across this country demonstrates that they are willing to disregard and sacrifice basic democratic beliefs and principles with respect to public education and individual freedom for the sake of higher student scores on an international skills test.
This misguided Machiavellian approach to education reform makes as much sense as requiring driver education classes for all Amish students because not enough Amish children have been taking and passing driver’s tests.
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