Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The misinformation deluge continues

I was trying to think of a suitable analogy for trying to counter the flood of misinformation about Common Core. Flood works. So does Whack-a-Mole.

A recent opinion piece in a St. Augustine, FL newspaper reads, in part:
The commissioner also failed to share that the major financial contributors to this political movement are Microsoft, Pearson Education, and the U.S. Department of Education. Microsoft will be selling the computers and software, and Pearson Education will be developing the curriculum in any new national education program. The Obama funds ($175 million) are helping to define the assessments in math and reading. These three organizations will totally control the curriculum, the delivery, and assessment of any Common Core.
The commissioner also failed to mention that Florida has already committed to no textbooks after 2015. The general plan of the Common Core is to deliver and assess student progress on-line using yet-to-be acquired computers.
 Where to start? Well, this sentence: "These three organizations will totally control the curriculum, the delivery, and assessment of any Common Core."

No, no, and no. The organizations will NOT control the delivery of Common Core because Common Core is about instructional practice.

Guess who controls delivery? Yep, classroom teachers.

And guess who has some modicum of control over assessment? All that formative assessment teachers do numerous times every day? Yep, classroom teachers.

So what that Florida isn't adopting new textbooks. I wonder if Jon Wiles uses textbooks in his job. I bet not. I bet he has other ways to find the information he needs. I bet he's even learned some research skills so he can be sure that what he finds is a legitimate resource so he doesn't risk spouting some nonsense that can't be supported by any evidence. Well, maybe not that last part.

The reality is that good teachers don't really need textbooks. There are so many resources available in schools, through existing textbooks, and in the library and elsewhere. Information that is likely more current than what's in textbooks. Information that can be gathered from primary and secondary sources that can be compared and corroborated. That's the stuff of college readiness and career readiness.

Yes, many states need to get ahead of the technology demands, figuring out infrastructure, bandwidth, and resource requirements. And they need to do that now. But they should do that anyway to make sure students are more competitive in this global society.

Of course, it should be noted that Dr. Wiles has published the 9th edition of his book on curriculum development, so perhaps he's concerned no one will buy his book and no one will be interested in developing curriculum. He's so wrong.

I've not read his book, but if he knows what he's talking about and he emphasizes the importance of instructional practice to make sure the developed curriculum helps students achieve their learning objectives, he could probably sell even more books. Just an observation.

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