Is the Common Core a Runaway Train? Is it Unstoppable? Let’s Ask Stephen Krashen

The Common Core train has left the station.  Is it a runaway train?  Is it unstoppable?  

Americans, get ready.  Common Core State Standards have already left the station, according to Stephen Krashen, who was featured in  NABE Weekly eNews, (2012), and the National Association for Bilingual Education,  see S. Krashen, “Poverty is the problem that must be solved: Our schools are not broken” NABE NEWS, 33 (4): 5-8. July/August 2011. 

But who is this Stephen Krashen?  Why should we ask him?  Why not ask Bill Gates?  Or Pearson?  Or David Coleman?

You can read about Krashen here on his website.  He’s an expert in education, unlike Gates, Pearson, or Coleman.  The problem is, Krashen isn’t driving the train.

Gates, Pearson, and Coleman are driving the train, and that’s like having no one at the wheel.  No one that knows what they are doing.  

Is the train unstoppable?  

Are schools really so broken across  America that 45 states have to adopt these untested standards?

What do we do when every American child is put on board a train without a driver?  Do we let that runaway train go until it crashes with all of them on board?  

These are serious questions that someone needs to answer.

Let’s  get a feel for what might be at risk, then pay attention closely as we ask Stephen Krashen, an education expert.

Krashen wrote:  

“It is not too late.  We are frequently told that “the train has already left the station.” It has not, however, arrived at its destination.”

He and NABE have given their permission to print Krashen’s work here.  My photos and comments are added.

Stephen Krashen:

Do Those Who Like the Common Core Know the Facts?   

Posted on NABE Weekly eNews  (National Association for Bilingual Education)

  “According to an Achieve poll, 68% of teachers and 74% of all voters approve of the common core state (sic) standards (either “very favorable” or “favorable”)

[http://www.achieve.org/GrowingAwarenessCCSS].  A poll of Education Next readers showed less enthusiasm, but 40% supported the common core at the time of this writing (either “completely” or “somewhat” supportive) [ http://educationnext.org/ednext-readers-poll-common-core/ ].” ~ Stephen Krashen, NABE Weekly eNews, (2012)

My update, as taken directly from Education Next Poll on Common Core below, includes  the week’s previous poll results, giving US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan a strong  “F”  in job performance.  Here are the results for both polls from their site:   

“Last week we asked:

“What grade would you give Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s job performance?”

The results were as follows:

A – 3%
B – 3%
C – 6%
D – 16 %
F – 72%

This week we want to know your thoughts on the following question:

As you may know, all states are currently deciding whether or not to adopt the Common Core standards in reading and math.  If adopted, these standards would be used to hold the state’s schools accountable for their performance.  Do you support or oppose the adoption of the Common Core standards in your state?

Do you support or oppose the adoption of the Common Core standards in your state? (Poll Closed)

Completely support 17.29%  

Somewhat support 12.62%  

Neither support nor oppose 3.97%  

Somewhat oppose 12.38%  

Completely oppose 53.74%  ”  ~  Education Next Reader’s Poll: Common Core(2012)

Yes, you read that right!  53.74% completely oppose the Common Core State Standards!  Interesting, since implementation of Common Core State Standards is getting started already in 45 states across America!

Stephen Krashen took the time to comment on the Education Next poll.  He said:

 Stephen Krashen says:

07/08/2012 at 12:57 am

“I wonder how the poll results would turn out if all those taking the poll realized that the common core state (sic) standards entails a massive increase in testing (about 20 times NCLB levels) and will be very expensive, at a time when money is very tight. I wonder how the results would be if respondees realized that there is no justification for the common core in the first place: the problem is poverty.” ~ Stephen Krashen, commentsEducation Next Poll: Common Core (2012)

Yes, I wonder how America will feel about the BILLIONS being spent, according to the Pioneer Institute on implementation of the Common Core State Standards?   What if we invested those billions in wrap-around services to directly counter the impacts of poverty instead?

Krashen warns us of a MASSIVE increase in testing, 20 times the testing that NCLB requires as he continues in NABE Weekly eNews:

“I wonder how the poll results would turn out if those taking the poll realized that the common core state (sic) standards mean a massive increase in testing and will be very expensive, at a time when money is very tight. My estimate is that the common core will require about 20 times the amount of testing that NCLB requires, with more subjects and grade levels tested, interim tests, and maybe even pretests in the fall.”  ~ Stephen Krashen, NABE Weekly eNews, (2012)

Just what does all this testing do for children’s learning?  Remember, “testing is not teaching”.  How much time will teachers be spending on teaching with Common Core?  How much excessive testing time goes on before the implementation?  Sounds like a train wreck right around the corner to me.

Are we nuts?  Who is driving this train?   What could communities spend that $16 billion on instead of implementation and testing costs?

Are we assuming that by 20 x MORE testing, we are going to achieve better results?  Who says?  How do we know?

What else does Stephen say this evidence in NABE?  What does he say about the REASON we need Common Core.  Is there a justifiable reason?  What are the real factors devastating some student achievement?  What would  the people of America think if they knew the answers?

 

“I wonder how the results would be if those polled realized that there is no evidence that increased testing will boost achievement, and that there is no justification for the common core in the first place: There is strong evidence that the major reason for low school achievement is poverty.  According to UNICEF (Innocenti Report 10), the US child poverty rate is now 23%, the second highest among 35 “economically advanced” countries.  Poverty has a devastating impact on school performance.”  ~ Stephen KrashenNABE Weekly eNews, (2012)

Obama wants America to “race to the top”.  There’s a “Race to the Top” medal for America.  We have achieved, alright.  We’ve achieved the second highest poverty rating among 35 “economically advanced” countries.  

We get second place and after we spend these billions on implementing Common Core State Standards instead of dealing with the problem of poverty in the first place, maybe we’ll win next year!  First prize!   Maybe it is better for us to start becoming un-advanced economically?

I suppose we should trust Pearson, Gates, and David Coleman and just implement the Common Core without any field testing, huh?  Does America know these standards have not had any field testing?  Will 20 x the testing help children in poverty achieve?

Oh, wait.  There’s more from Krashen.  

 “I wonder how those polled would respond if they knew that the billions to be spent on unnecessary and excessive testing could be used to protect children against the effects of poverty.” ~ Stephen KrashenNABE Weekly eNews, (2012)

 But is it too late?  Is the train of Common Core unstoppable?

He wonders too, what the pollers would have said if they KNEW these billions were being spent on UNNECCESSARY excessive testing.  Is it unnecessary?    Do you know, American parents?  Start asking questions.  Stop the train.

Do these standards really make a difference when in the end, we all group up with different passions, talents, and interests that lead us to different vocations, professions, and lifestyles?  Why try to standardize everyone?  Does it make sense, really?  What if we embraced everyone’s diversity instead?

When was the last time you heard of ANYONE solving any of the world’s REAL problems by taking one of these bubble tests?  

  • Has anyone attributed these bubble tests to saving a life?  
  • Inventing something important for society?  
  • Adding to their success?  
  • Creating happiness?  
  • Establishing credibility in their future?  
  • What happened after you got your diploma?  
  • Did you EVER refer back to those bubble tests in your resume?

But more importantly:  What would happen if we spent these billions on stemming the bleeding on poverty instead?  What kinds of things might REALLY help?  

 

Krashen has more questions too, and points out — when it comes to Common Core, it may not be too late.  Could we stop the train?  Is it unstoppable? 

 “It is not too late.  We are frequently told that “the train has already left the station.” It has not, however, arrived at its destination.

 If the public knew the details about the Common Core, the astonishing amount of testing, the cost, and the lack of evidence that it will work, the train would stop immediately.”

Note: NABE passed a strong resolution opposing the common core standards and tests at the 2012 annual meeting.

For sources, see S. Krashen, “Poverty is the problem that must be solved: Our schools are not broken” NABE NEWS, 33 (4): 5-8. July/August 2011.

 

Krashen inspires us, encourages us, and directs us to stop this train.  

We don’t need Common Core Standards.  

Our schools are not broken.  

We don’t need 20 x the high stakes testing.  

Our schools are not broken.  

We don’t need Value Added Measures [VAM].  

Our schools are not broken.  

We don’t need charter schools to make the rich guys richer.  

Our schools are not broken. 

It’s not too late.  

Stop Common Core.

Stop the poverty train. 

Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction.

I agree with Stephen Krashen.  

Schools are not broken.  

Society is broken.  

Common Core State Standards won’t help poverty.   In fact, it’s $16 billion price tag will likely make it a whole lot worse.  

America, we need to put people like Stephen Krashen behind the wheel.  

Don’t be deceived by their propaganda:  Take the wheel away from the corporations.    Why would we trust them with anything?  $16 Billion?  Our children?  Our schools?  Our teachers?   Why?

Let’s stop this train — the poverty train — before it’s too late.  

Why?

Because these children —- these children in poverty —- these children in our public schools  — they’re real human beings —-  they aren’t numbers.

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About Teachers'LettersToBillGates

Our mission is to create a dialogue with Bill and Melinda Gates in order to achieve a democratic influence on public education through the voices of education researchers, professors of education, administrators, school board members, professional teachers, parents, students, and community members. We would appreciate Bill and Melinda's feedback and want to influence their education policy and financial decisions by adding democratic voices to create meaningful relevant education for children. View all posts by Teachers'LettersToBillGates

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