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Common Core: A Foreordained Tragedy

December 31, 2013

To The Reader’s Forum: “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink....

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(40)

Regelski

Jan-15-14 1:02 PM

(cont. from below): Teachers teach fewer hours per day; the difference going to their cooperative planning (per school) according to the (very general) national curriculum--nothing even approximating Common Core. In fact, students NEVER take a high stakes test, just the college qualification exam for whether they are accepted to the degree of their choice. Higher education is entirely free. The government subsidizes students about $600 a month for room and board (no dorms or food plans here). No university or HS sports to distract from the more important goal of learning and contributing to society. Social needs are provided by the community (not the government) according to parental support: sports( this little country competes well against the US and Russia in hockey). US taxpayers simply don't understand how schooling is offered cheaper and more effectively elsewhere. See the book by Pasi Sahlberg, Finnish Lessons, for details and be prepared for a surprise. Must reading.

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Regelski

Jan-15-14 12:48 PM

Psychflux: I'm not a Finnish school teacher (though I teach teachers seeking doctorates in education). I'm a retired US educator, from SUNY Fredonia, who has retired here for various reasons. Some quick facts: the top 10% of school grads go into teaching. Teaching is the second most respected profession in Finland (after medicine). Teachers here earn about the same as in the US (though the cost of living is much greater here). They enter the field because they are treated as professionals, not as workers on a factory production line governed by how many widgets they can mass-produce. Unlike in the US, they are respected (although there are differences in their training that can account for this respect: 4 years of solid academic study, a 2 year teaching degree, and a research thesis on teaching pedagogy. Finland is regularly at the top of the PISA scores (an international comparison) and the US is below average. Students here go to school fewer days and shorter days.

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Psychofux

Jan-10-14 5:33 PM

y

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Psychofux

Jan-10-14 5:33 PM

Regelski: I'm in agreement with many of your statements. I'm curious; what is your salary as a teacher in Finland? Are the on a scale? I've heard that their pay is much higher, and teachers are more respected by the populace…not that I'm trying to make a case that this is the difference.

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Regelski

Jan-10-14 1:24 PM

PS: In my studies in Finland, I learned that(among other things) teachers (in all but music, art, and phys ed) complete a comprehensive 4 year academic degree in their subject. Then they take a 2 year masters degree in tedaching, culminating with a research-based thesis study in the pedagogy of their field. Teachers teach fewer hours, but spend more time cooperating with colleagues in planning a 'program' in their subject for the school. Students here arrive at school at around 9 am and leave at around 1:30 pm. (This has to do with sunlight at these latitudes.) They have NO high-stakes tests at all, ever, until a comprehensive graduation test which qualifies them (or not) for their choice of college majors (college being 100% free, plus about $500 a month government stipend for living expenses. TeaRepublicans should take note. Others should inform themselves of comparisons. We come off way below international standards. But, again, it's not teachers but educational policies.

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Regelski

Jan-10-14 1:22 PM

PS: In my studies in Finland, I learned that(among other things) teachers (in all but music, art, and phys ed) complete a comprehensive 4 year academic degree in their subject. Then they take a 2 year masters degree in tedaching, culminating with a research-based thesis study in the pedagogy of their field. Teachers teach fewer hours, but spend more time cooperating with colleagues in planning a 'program' in their subject for the school. Students here arrive at school at around 9 am and leave at around 1:30 pm. (This has to do with sunlight at these latitudes.) They have NO high-stakes tests at all, ever, until a comprehensive graduation test which qualifies them (or not) for their choice of college majors (college being 100% free, plus about $500 a month government stipend for living expenses. TeaRepublicans should take note. Others should inform themselves of comparisons. We come off way below international standards. But, again, it's not teachers but educational policies.

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Regelski

Jan-10-14 1:09 PM

sorry, "policies." It is alarming how much the public does not know, and thinks it does, about what goes on in schools. Everyone has been through schooling, but has no idea of what happens on the other side of the desk. For comparisons, read Pasi Sahlberg, Finnish Lessons, to see how far afield we are in the US from international standards. And, there is a great need to select our teachers more carefully. Story: a former student of mine, now a Superintendent in a rich NYC suburb, when faced with the applications for a chemistry position, decided to narrow the field: the applicants had to agree to take the last year's Regents Exam as qualification for the position. Of the many applicants, only three agreed to the challenge and only one passed! I can't say for sure that the candidate ended up being a good teacher (often, what is easily learned by teachers is difficult to teach to learners having difficulty) but having learned the content is a beginning.

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Regelski

Jan-10-14 12:57 PM

I'm currently living in Finland and studying its educational system. There are other ways of providing quality education than the US model. In Finland--which btw is at the top of the international PISA scores (where the US ranks lower than average--the curriculum is expressed in very general terms by the Ministry of Education and the execution of it is left up to the professionalism of teachers. Teaching attracts the top 10% of school grads and is the second most respected profession, after medicine. PISA scores, for those in the US who think that high-stakes testing is the solution, US students compared to Finnish students show the latter to be in the top echelon (along with Korea, Japan, and our neighbor Canada!) This is not an indictment of our teachers, but of public policies, such as the teaching to the test and 'what works' theories of pedagogy. Commentators on this site don't have these kinds of comparisons in mind when criticizing or advocating policis.

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Psychofux

Jan-03-14 12:29 PM

duckstar: I agree with that to a point. There is a lot of flexibility for the creative teacher. "There is an app for that" in the iTunes store. Engageny has an app that anybody can download and get all of the resources for CC. The good test takers have always been at an advantage, CC will not change that. Your comment has merit. But these other dingalings are just spewing uncredited and unwarranted criticisms about CC. If they would bother to look, they'd find something to complain about. And it is not to brain wash or make the middle class mindless. Those like loneriderrrr should locate and identify the page, and present it as evidence. Otherwise, they are just mindless boobs.

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duckster

Jan-03-14 10:07 AM

I loath the tea party/govt. paranoia crowd but I must admit one thing as a former educator: common core is like trying to quantify an art form...it will hurt creative teachers and reward the good test takers..

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Psychofux

Jan-03-14 7:57 AM

Seriously, there are people that are simply unemployable. They create disfunction and liability in any workplace. They can be simple minded, hard headed, incompetent, crazy, lazy, etc. So I imagine that there are many people that just accept that it is easier to assist them financially than to try to employ them. I'm sure that Steiner's company and coworkers would prefer that he seek public assistance.

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Regulator

Jan-02-14 8:09 PM

"Unearned social privilege" You gotta love it. LOL

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Emelye

Jan-02-14 1:48 PM

"Try living without public assistance and SNAP. You can't know what it's like." - regulator "Then if it's so bad, get a job." - Seadog

This kind of prejudice and clueless condemnation is typical of the cruelly narrow minded and selfish people in our culture. The level of unexamined and unearned social privilege is astounding in these statements yet I'm sure their authors will deny that any of that privilege exists.

To assume I have never held a job to support myself and my family and then to assume that I can easily go out and get any old job with 3 or 4 applicants for every position is rank prejudice and willing ignorance of the reality that far too many of our society face.

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Psychofux

Jan-01-14 6:27 PM

Seadog. I agree to a point. I'm not sure what drives some people to entirely escape the drive that I have always had to maintain employment. But I can't judge these people so simply. There are single mothers that need help. There are children that need help. And there are gutless spineless doughy weasels that father children and run away. They don't need this help. If we could do something that didn't drive them straight to crime, I'm behind you. Maybe one idea: Since everybody now has a camera/phone, they could save before and after pictures after cleaning an area that they themselves select, and then collect some assistance, according to each need and ability.

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Psychofux

Jan-01-14 4:45 AM

freedomtoday typifies the need for increasing the depth and rigor in mathematics. He was caught unaware. Programmers will need to be able to program with multiple variables and equations. These steps, among many others, are needed to find the best and the brightest among us, hopefully lifting all those that aren't the best and the brightest. If we don't, then we will continue to rely on immigrant populations to advance engineering and technical fields. It is sad that some older citizens from our populations, that had the largest dropout rates ever and are unqualified to pursue these fields, are the loudest voices against CC. Sure, there are those among us that criticize CC for the application of "modules" and the content. But CC in not brainwashing in the way they portray it. It is brainwashing in the way of getting everybody back on track to make America number 1.

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MacKenzie

Jan-01-14 12:23 AM

Great letter.

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Regulator

Jan-01-14 12:02 AM

Try living without public assistance and SNAP. You can't know what it's like.

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Emelye

Dec-31-13 11:40 PM

Until you have lived it, you can't know what it's like.

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Regulator

Dec-31-13 11:32 PM

Lots of people enjoy that lifestyle. The proof is everywhere you look.

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Emelye

Dec-31-13 11:06 PM

"In two or three generations, their progeny will become as insouciant as our own contemporary youth who, the government has guaranteed, do not have to work to prosper."

Points to Mr Smith for using the word, "insouciant," but I really have to take issue with his claim that the government has guaranteed that work is unnecessary in order to prosper in our society. This spurious and prejudicial claim spoils the whole letter for me and makes me think Mr Smith's opposition to the CORE standards is political rather than practical.

If Mr Smith thinks living on public assistance and SNAP is anything close to prosperity, I suggest he try it for a year and I suspect his tune would change considerable afterward.

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StoneJarl

Dec-31-13 6:12 PM

Before calling on Diane Ravitch's current views, may I suggest some further reading of her history. In the autumn 2013, Sol Stern summarizes her abandonment and outright contradictions of most of her life's work and publications starting in 2012 when she began her blog posts. Diane Ravitch is a very accomplished author and in the past offered many ideas for improving the quality of education. She has been consistent only in acknowledging that poverty, and by extension, lack of parental support are the primary hinderances to a child's learning success.

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Thatswhatigot

Dec-31-13 2:33 PM

Seriously - if you have just read this newspaper and watched news outlets regarding this issue you do not have the entire picture and I highly encourage you to research this topic further before speaking in favor of it. At first I was only opposed to the modules for some of the inappropriate content that my children were being exposed to. The more I researched and learned, however, the more opposed and discouraged I became with the entire common core overhaul. I agree with Mr. Smith - something is terribly wrong and the American people need to wake up and do their research. Please look up Diane Ravitch she has a long successful history in education and speaks the truth about the issues and corruption that is going on with education. I think you would not be able to defend the common core if you read any of her statements. People against common core hold hard facts, where as people for it - have nothing to go by other than standards and modules with absolutely no research.

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CREDENCE

Dec-31-13 1:12 PM

12:59 perhaps some are "naïve suckers" Ahem ahem

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CREDENCE

Dec-31-13 1:10 PM

Anyone on list happen to have dealt with the Explorer.exe problem of constant overloading of your CPU? I run windows 7 and it is terrible. What's to do about it ?????????????

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CREDENCE

Dec-31-13 12:42 PM

Don't worry about the particulars of the common core (they do not matter).

IT IS A RESURRECTED 1940's European Govt. take over plain & simple.

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