Thursday, November 21, 2013

Principal at Mohawk School: Common Core Materials are Culturally Insensitive, at King's Plattsburgh Appearance

The critiques keep getting more astute and unsettling in new ways each week.

I was listening to "Commissioner King Attends Common Core Forum in Plattsburgh", a report on NYSED Commissioner John King's appearance in Plattsburgh (Adirondacks). The recording in this report from WAMC, North Country radio, had speakers with more subdued delivery than the suburban tours, but nevertheless had just as profound arguments.

I was very disturbed to hear about the culturally insensitive materials, but I believe the charge. The authors of the materials live in their own culturally isolated bubble, so it is hardly shocking that these cases will come up. Nonetheless, it is an intolerable situation. This is one more major reason to oppose the Common Core States Standards.

Shirley Thomas, principal of the St. Regis Mohawk elementary school in the Akwesasne Reservation:
. . . The quality of the ELA and math modules is shockingly poor. In addition to these errors, the modules are culturally insensitive with Native Americans depicted in stereotypical ways. What are the plans for overhauling the modules to be developmentally appropriate for students and the justification of tying these underdeveloped modules to high stakes testing which are directly tied to teacher and administrator performance?
An earlier speaker, a teacher in training, emphasized that "if you want to create life-long learners you need to stop creating an environment where they hate school, because it's only going to get worse."

 A response by John King in the report, "Does this mean we're going to stop the Common Core? No. We believe in the Common Core. We're committed to the work of the Common Core."

 There were only 100 guests allowed in the small studio for the taped event. But a small group of protesters stood outside in the cold.
The forum will be broadcast by Mountain Lake PBS Thursday and Friday evening and will be posted on the station’s website later this week.
The Adirondack Daily Enterprise reported on deep parent frustration at another Common Core event in the area.
"I personally find Common Core to be an abomination to education," said one Schroon Lake parent named Heather, who said she had a son enrolled in third grade.

This kind of fury and distrust was nearly universal as parent after parent from across the North Country lined up to blast King for the content of Common Core and its implementation.

"Education was not a function of the federal government but rather the duty of each state," argued Jules Como, a parent from Long Lake. "The federal government has essentially bribed the states to implement Common Core with promises of money. Yet the funding that local schools have received from Race to the Top woefully is adequate for implementation of Common Core at the local level - another unfunded mandate from our local leaders in Albany." This idea, that Common Core has been rolled out poorly, with too much top-down design and without enough state funding, echoed again and again.
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 First we heard of students hating school, then we heard of students thinking themselves stupid, then we hear of students getting physically sick. Psychologists are reporting that children are getting depressed because of the work that they are doing in the classroom. Now we hear of racially insensitive materials.

Just what will it take for the madness of these standards and the associated curriculum to stop? The New York State Education Department is committing child abuse. Bravo to the administrators that have stood up and denounced the Common Core.  Notice that students are against it, parents are against it, teachers are against it, supervisors from principals up to superintendents are against it.
Watch just some of the videos:

The only communities pushing for it are reporters with their sugar-coated reports and the politicians. Why is King so deeply invested in the Common Core? Could he have some financial interest in the matter? Is he receiving some stipend from Bill Gates that is conditional on his continued shilling for the Common Core?

Earlier I wrote a post making the Vietnam War parallel to the intractable stances of state education leaders and other proponents of the Common Core and other "reforms". In that war, the leaders and politicians did not listen to the people; they barreled on, in their steadfast closemindedness. We have the same situation here in New York State. Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch and Commissioner King are not budging an inch. They are speaking like wind-up dolls, saying precisely the same things they said months ago. They are proceeding forward as though this was an article of faith. As Raging Horse blog wrote two days ago to speak against the Common Core in their minds is blasphemy.
State legislators must now hold hearings on the Common Core and must listen to the public's demand that King step down from his position. $212,000 (King's 3 percenter salarie not well spent.

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A ;etter frp, a certified Soi W: