The joint statement issued by the National School Boards Association, National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Association of Secondary School Principles, and the American Association of School Administrators makes clear that public education in the United States is in deeper trouble than many thought. The problem, though, is not one of pedagogy or teaching personnel. It’s a serious lack of leadership.
The “leadership” groups’ statement on the Common Core standards shows that these “leaders” just don’t get it. They know no more about the Common Core than they did about No Child Left Behind.
Indeed, they say that the Common Core “tests are necessary” for “use in teacher and principal evaluation,” but those tests must be coupled with “sufficient, accurate, and timely data in addition to test scores.” Huh? Say what? After more than a decade of tests and “data-driven” instruction and evaluation, we need even MORE of it? Are they serious? This is like saying the economy needs more tax cuts for corporations and the rich to “stimulate” job creation. Or like a doctor saying he needs to bleed more “bad blood” from the patient in order to cure him.
The “leaders” state that “the prudent course is to avoid over-reliance on the assessments” UNTIL the Common Core standards “are fully implemented...” Then they add this nutty conclusion:
“Failure to consider this reality will result in the...the same disappointing results of NCLB-era accountability.”
Did these people never grasp that the “proficiency” requirements of No Child Left Behind were impossible to achieve? That the projections for 2014 were that 99 percent of California schools would be labeled as “failing,” with “failure” rates of 95 percent in the Great Lakes states and elsewhere?
A former assistant secretary of education in the Bush administration said that NCLB was really a “Trojan horse...a way to expose the failure of public blow it up a bit.” Is the Common Cre really so different?
Look at who supports the Common Core standards: Margaret Spellings, former Ed Secretary, who infamously called NCLB “99.9 percent pure;” Jeb Bush, who is pushing charter schools and vouchers across the country; Bill Gates, who funded the Common Core, and who wants more H1-B visas for his company despite the fact that American education churns out three times as many STEM graduates as there are jobs; and, the Business Roundtable and U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who lobbied aggressively for unfunded corporate tax cuts that spawned huge deficits and debt, and for laissez-faire regulatory policies that aided and abetted massive fraud and corruption (especially on Wall Street) and that blew up the economy.
And now public school “leaders” are lending their support?
Public education in the United States is a foundational cornerstone of democratic governance. Both are in greater jeopardy than many of us thought."