Monday, May 20, 2013

Four Components of a National Education System

As I've been speaking about the common core it has become clear that people know a little bit about some of it but few understand how all the pieces fit together.    This post is by no mean comprehensive but it puts all four of the key components of education reform together and will hopefully help parents understand why this not just the Common Core but the entire reform is a problem.

There are four components to the "defacto" national education that together comprise the P-20 centralized system.   Common Core and the push for national standards is as much an economic reform as it is an education reform.  Anyone educated outside the P-20 system is at a disadvantage in college and career advancement. 

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder said in 2011, " It is time that we view our educational system which runs from pre-natal to lifelong learning. It’s time to start talking about P-20 instead of just K-12. We need to establish a system that focuses on real achievement for all of our children."

1. Standards: These are the Common Core (math and ELA) along with Next Generation
Science and C3 Social studies. Common Core has already been adopted by 45 states and the other two standards are being considered in many states right now.

2. Assessments: These are the tests to go with the new standards. What is tested is what is taught. What is taught is what is thought. Currently there are two assessments being implemented in 44 states. Smarter Balanced and PARCC. Combined these will eventually become a national test to be given to all students. SBA tests are computer adaptive. Which means that questions become easier for those that miss a question and harder for those that get it right. So that begins the tracking and filtering of kids toward a certain career based on testing.

3. Curricula: What is tested must be practiced 100 times. That's a paraphrase of David Coleman's statement. Coleman was chief architect of the Common Core and now is head of the College Board which runs the AP and the SAT test. Curricula is being developed to go along with the tests. And the AP and SAT along with ACT are all being aligned to the tests. curricula will follow. Pearson who wrote the science standards and the assessments is already developing much of it.

4. Data Tracking: This is the place where the teacher and student data is stored. Yes, data mining is a concern. But not the only one. Those outside the database will be at a disadvantage in college admission and employment. There curriculum will be challenged as not as rigorous to the high national standards and the curricula developed to those standards. Teachers will be "graded" and tracked on well they teach the new standards, insuring that they don't deviate too greatly from the script. Students will be graded and tracked on well they learn the new standards. All leading toward a centralized data system that crosses state lines and leads to a portable credential accepted by employers and colleges. Already many colleges are using a "Common Application" that is ONE application for over 400 colleges. A "valid" e-transcript is the ticket to travel to the next destination after high school. The only way to get a ticket to ride the P-20 system is to participate in their system. The data tracking includes over 400 unique identifiers that are not just academic. Any guesses where a Christian homeschooler might be placed on such a measure?
Common standards + Common tests + Common curricula + Common data tracking = P - 20 seamless educational system.

These four components outline a European-style national education system here in the US. 
This is where homeschooled and private schooled  who do not complete coursework not aligned with Common Core and are not "tracked" could potentially encounter problems.

Six students in a private Christian school were denied admission into college because some of their coursework (A Beka and Bob Jones) was not acceptable by the University of California system.  They lost their court battle.

But even those with children in the public school will be penalized if they hold certain beliefs. 

Consider the response to the just released Next Generation Science Standards by Richard Hull, executive director of the Text and Academic Authors Association,

"Students who are educated in accordance with them will have a better chance for success in college courses and in competition on the employment market than those steeped in creationism design, new earth theory, and other alternative accounts."
How much more clear can it be that this is about conformity of thought and not high academic standards?

For a more detailed analysis of Common Core and these various components, you can go to Common Core and click on the various posts I have written on the subject

No comments: