The US Department of Education began grading parents based on the age their children learned to walk, tie their shoes, or ride a bike.
Teachers could focus more on cultivating students’ thirst for knowledge rather than satisfying ed reformers thirst for data.
Students spent more time taking informal and formative (informative) assessments rather than standardized summative assessments.
Schools provided diverse pathways and opportunities for students to explore and unleash their specialized skills and abilities rather than trying to standardize and quantify their skills.
Reformers understood that students learn from taking risks and testing things, not taking tests.
Schools could be more focused on teaching diverse learners how worthy they are rather than repeatedly testing students to determine how much their skills are worth.
Data-driven instruction meant helping EVERY child to learn and discover ways they are “Ten Feet Tall”
I’m clumsy, yeah my head’s a mess Cause you got me growing taller everday…
But you got me feeling like I’m stepping on buildings, cars and boats I swear I could touch the sky…I’m ten feet tall.
You build me up Make me what I never was…
~ Afrojack, “Ten Feet Tall”
Reformers realized that cognitively delayed and disabled students who are resourceful, persistent, courageous, and resilient will succeed in college and careers while academically and cognitively proficient students who are lazy, hesitant, dishonest, unreliable, dispassionate, and unimaginative will not be successful in college and work environments.
Joy, civics, culinary arts, foreign language, geography, fun, health, history, field trips, home economics, humanities, recess, fiction, driver education, athletics, political science, chess, psychology, play, sociology, speech and debate, sign language, trade and vocational skills and visual and performing arts were not left behind in our Race To The Top.
Reformers understood that it is far more important that students are free to learn in school and are well educated, than subjecting them to continuous testing to determine if they have been educated well.
Reformers understood that teachers are like gardeners and Common Core is like Miracle-Gro but students will never thrive if their schools lack the resources to purchase garden hoses or even pay the water bill.
Education programs had more resources to address the underlying “illness” of poverty rather than continually measuring and addressing student “symptoms” in the classroom.
Reformers realized learning that doesn’t take place outside the classroom can have a much greater impact on student achievement than what transpires inside the classroom.
Reformers understood that learning should be more passion and purpose-driven rather than standards and data-driven.
Education leaders realized that in free and open democratic societies education should be focused on the needs and interests of students rather than the desires of data miners, corporations, and the state.
Reformers realized that using students’ standardized test score to determine the quality of teachers is like counting patients’ cavities to evaluate the skills of a dentist or using patients’ blood pressure and cholesterol scores at the end of the year to determine the effectiveness of their doctors.
There was as much effort devoted to assuring there are equitable resources available to every public school as there is assuring schools have equally high learning standards.
We remember that it was not conformity that has been the engine to power America’s economy but creativity. It was courageous inventors, innovators, and entrepreneurs who have advanced our economy over the years. These learners didn’t fit educational molds, they broke them. They didn’t learn or think about problems the same way as everyone else. They often improvised and innovated and they were more inclined to break with tradition and “rules”, than they were to follow them.
Reformers understood that increased opposition to the Common Core is not simply “growing pains” but a growing awareness that coupling high stakes testing with the standards leads to a narrowing of the curriculum and incentivizes teaching to the test.
Teachers could first help EVERY student learn how to “Swim” before making them dive into complex informational text.
Yeah you gotta swim Don’t let yourself sink
Just find the horizon I promise you it’s not as far as you think
~ Jack’s Mannequin, “Swim”
There were many more education leaders and far fewer Common Core cheerleaders.
Ed reformers put less effort into selling solutions and put more thought into solving problems.
Ed reformers acknowledged that it is not fair to test older students using Common Core assessments or claim these scores reveal the effectiveness of their teachers because we are grading the ability of a person to climb an academic staircase that is partially completed and under construction.
AFT devoted an upcoming issue of “American Educator” to the Common Core State Standards and the editors clarified their statement in the 2011 Winter Edition that enthusiastically endorsed the standards AND even called for a National Common Core Curriculum
Reformers understood that education is a staircase of learning rather than an escalator and the diverse abilities and skills of students along with the amount of parental involvement will determine the manner and speed at which each student will be able to climb the steps.
The Common Core provided diverse career pathways rather than one path to college and underemployment.