October 1, 2010

Today’s Challenge

Today’s challenge is for all you standards-lovin’ folks who think that standards are capable of effecting an improvement in instruction.

Pennsylvania recently adopted the Common Core Standards.

Now take a look at Pennsylvania’s Early Learning Standards.

I defy anyone to:

1.  read these standards without throwing up a little in their mouth, and

2.  point why 95% of these standards can’t be retained without change when they are harmonized with the Common Core standards.


(And for the love of God, if you think that Universal Preschool is the educational panacea we’ve all been waiting for, please do not look at the recently revised Pre-K standards.)

Added Bonus:  Here goes the helpful curriculum alignment guide for educators wishing to keep using their favorite curriculum.  Now you can say “Yeah, our curriculum is aligned with the Common core standards.”

Added Extra Bonus:  Pennsylvania’s standards are already infecting private schools.  Pennsylvania’s accreditation organization, Keystone Stars, requires the use of the Pennsylvania standards for private schools,  pre-schools, and day care centers desiring to be accredited.

Note to JPG Blog:  Don’t uncork the champagne yet.  Charter schools and other free market reforms don’t work all that well in a toxic regulatory environment.  In fact, this one of the best ways to discredit such reforms.  See the recent financial crisis for ample evidence for this phenomenon.


Unknown said...

If you read all the collateral documents, they say again and again-

we needed national standards so that the feds could impose inquiry learning as the national classroom model (active learning! according to Carnegie) and then change the nature of the national assessments to subjective tests that would obscure the resulting lack of knowledge and real skill.


We should take them at their word when the federal agencies themselves state that all federal educational spending is to achieve diversity in our society.

All these programs and reports assume an America in the future where everyone gets a living wage by fiat and can find rewarding work despite not knowing much.

Command and control economy-if that's not the future we want for the US, we must stop what's actually going on with Common Core according to their own reports.

Unknown said...

That really does sound sensationalistic but after reading most of the evidence and cites and studies-

sometimes it looks like a conspiracy because it is one.

Ken- Look up "eyeballs in the Fridge" and then appreciate that that report is the cited evidence on what is effective in STEM instruction.

No one would wager their own money on such a slim, ludicrously unproven study but it's taxpayer money and adults can make money off all the requisite remediation.

That's what were basing this country's future on?

Quicksand has a firmer foundation.

Unknown said...

I was wondering what you thought of our proposed classical charter school. Please see http://www.frederickclassicalcharterschool.org/.

Unknown said...

I was wondering what you thought of our charter school. http://www.frederickclassicalcharterschool.org/

Dick Schutz said...

read these standards without throwing up a little in their mouth

I tried to do it but couldn't. It's like swallowing a blivit.

point why 95% of these standards can’t be retained without change when they are harmonized with the Common Core standards

Tried to do that too, and couldn't, Tried to do it with CA, and flunked that test too.

If one scrambles the "standards" statements" it's impossible to reassemble them by state and/or grade.

No thought is given to the time and effort that would go into teaching the standards--or even how one would know when they had been taught.


KDeRosa said...

Tom, the idea seems promising but the the devil is in the details. A classical education is not necessarily a good education, it can be done poorly or well. Good luck.

KDeRosa said...


Indeed. But these standards are already affecting the education that is being offered in PA. Just try to find a suburban preschool that doesn't subscribe to the open education model.

Unknown said...

When the original "thinking curriculum for all" was first promulgated by people like Richard Lesh and Lauren Resnick, they recognized quickly that standard assessments would show poor results. They needed to change the nature of assessments.

And that's what they have done here.

It's fascinating in all the collateral documents how they keep returning to 2 primary purposes of Common standards=

1) change the nature of national assessments; and

2) get control of professional development.

PD then becomes indoctrination sessions on how children are best taught through activities and group work.

But don't take my word for it.

Read this accompanying document to Common Core-


This same mindset is in every STEM report being published right now by CCSSO, the feds, or the nonprofits. If the steady drumbeat seems coordinated, it is. There's a 2009 Carnegie report that specifies each groups responsibilities to allow federal direction in our "decentralized" education system in the US.

KDeRosa said...

Robin, that must be why Pennsylvania's Keystone Program encourages providers with grant money to reach for the higher levels of accreditation (levels 1 - 4). Each level requires significantly more yearly professional development.

Unknown said...

Absolutely Ken.

The Common Core standards themselves may say that they are not dictating how to teach but the Model Teaching Standards certainly do.


The mandate for the inquiry approach and this idea of "just enough" knowledge for students and teachers permeates all these STEM reports especially if you get beyond the Exec Summary or an EdWeek review into the documents themselves.

The military would win wars with this level of planning and coordinated effort.

The STEM Report to the President states that the College Board is in the process of revising its courses and exams to make them more inquiry, activity oriented.

The report goes on to strongly endorse these changes and hope that they will have a "ripple effect on the rest of the high school curriculum".

It takes a lot of PD to push ideas that defy common sense like schools should not discriminate against those who lack academic ability and need to find ways to change the curriculum until it's accessible to all.

KDeRosa said...

There certainly is a lot of nonsense and gibberish in those proposed standards, but they are most vague directives, much like the common core standards.

If you want to see detailed standards that will affect performance, check out your state's plumbing or electrical codes.

Unknown said...

That's why having federal control over assessments and PD is so critical. They are deliberately vague-enough content language to get political support.

Vague to allow for the type of classroom implementation planned.

We are going to change the content of AP classes so that they can be more inclusive without that impacting perceived results.

It's no accident that the new assessments consortia have legal agreements with most public colleges and universities to take high school graduates under Common Core without remedial classes.

If the standards were really designed to produce academically strong knowledge and skills, there would be no need to bind higher ed in advance to agree there will be no need for remediation.

MsCFaith said...

It's good that I found your site, though, because now I have a resource to one of my many projects.

Anyway, I'll take your advice and take on these challenges.

Once again, thank you.