Three years ago, it became the first state to adopt the new, tougher K-12 standards
Why does this 'good news' story cause me agita and skepticism?
First, the headline credits a curriculum framework with what is clearly revealed in the article to be the result of high quality teaching. This Teacher reportedly functions extremely well in a collaborative professional learning community focused on executing effective practice. ( High quality teachers are the one consistent variable that determines positive pupil outcomes in any school.)
Second the only 'yardstick' being used to measure success is reductionist test scores. Yogi Berra put it best: "We're lost; but we're makin' good time!"
Finally, the Common Core, or any number of state content standards, originally conceived to be a "floor" beneath which no child should fall; have instead become the educational aspiration for our public schools.
Three strikes-they're out. --Lou
Excerpt ".....LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Freshmen in Kate Barrows’ English class at Liberty High School, an alternative school in Louisville, were trying to solve a crime. A wealthy man had received a letter demanding money, or else his daughter would be kidnapped. Barrows guided the students through a series of questions to identify the extortionist.
Was the writer male or female? They thought female: The writer asked for the money in a “pretty blue pocketbook.” Could it have been a professional gangster? A gangster would just rob you and wouldn’t bother with threatening notes, the class decided.
The exercise was a lighthearted way to demonstrate how Barrows will expect her students to read more difficult texts later in the year. “We’re going to keep looking at this page of writing, and we’re going to tear it apart,” Barrows said.
In Karen Cash’s Algebra 2 class down the hall, students cut grid paper to make boxes, graphed the volume of the shapes they created, and wrote algebraic equations based on the patterns. Liberty’s math department has made it a point to have students work through the mathematical process on their own instead of listening to lectures. Students have a checklist to go through when they can’t solve a problem, before turning to the old default of asking a teacher. Questions on the checklist include: What information does the problem give us? Can we draw a picture?
Liberty’s emphasis on inquiry-based learning is relatively new, and it comes courtesy of the Common Core State Standards, which Kentucky adopted three years ago. Since then, Barrows, Cash, and other teachers across the state have focused on new concepts and trained in new teaching methods. Yet, Kentucky has still not seen a substantial increase in test scores—the yardstick that the success of the new standards will ultimately be measured on..."