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Education Politics

Is the New "Common Core SAT" Bill Gates' Doing? 273

Posted by timothy
from the secret-machinations dept.
theodp writes "'I want to explain why Common Core is among the most important education ideas in years,' wrote Bill Gates in a USA Today op-ed last month that challenged the "dangerous misconceptions" of those who oppose the initiative (pretty confident for a guy who conceded there wasn't much to show for his earlier $5B education reform effort!). 'The Gates Foundation helped fund this process,' acknowledged Gates in quite an understatement of his influence. Receiving $6.5M in Gates Grants was Student Achievement Partners, whose founder David Coleman was dubbed the 'Architect of the Common Core.' So it's not too surprising that at last week's SXSWedu, Coleman — now President and CEO of The College Board (no stranger to Gates money itself) — announced a dramatic overhaul of the SAT that includes a new emphasis on evidence-based reading and writing and evidence analysis, which the AJC's Maureen Downey calls 'reflective of the approach of the Common Core State Standards.'" (Read more, below.)
"And over at The Atlantic, Lindsey Tepe reports that the Common Core is driving the changes to the SAT. "Neither Coleman nor the national media," writes Tepe, "have really honed in on how the standards are driving the College Board-as well as the ACT-to change their product." In conjunction with the redesigned SAT, The College Board also announced it would exclusively team with Khan Academy (KA) to make comprehensive, best-in-class SAT prep materials open and free in an effort to level the playing field between those who can and can't afford test prep services. In a conversation with KA founder Sal Khan — aka Bill Gates' favorite teacher and a beneficiary of $10+ million in Gates Foundation grants (much earmarked for Common Core) — Coleman stressed that Khan Academy and CollegeBoard will be the only places in the world that students will be able to encounter free materials for the exam that are "focused on the core of the math and literacy that matters most." "There will be no other such partnerships", Coleman reiterated. Game, set, and match, Gates?"
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Is the New "Common Core SAT" Bill Gates' Doing?

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  • Re:Becuz (Score:5, Insightful)

    by i kan reed (749298) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @12:40PM (#46474307) Homepage Journal

    But, seriously, we've only solved the universal literacy problem over about the last 50-150 years(depending on when you consider it "solved"), and it's made a huge difference for how well society functions. You can hand almost any American a book about how to do a well-paying job, and they could actually try and tackle it if they wanted. That didn't used to be true, at all. You can count on someone being able to heed a warning label on a product. The US highway system is easily navigable with just reading skills.

    The difference between a literate and illiterate population is so huge that we can't even imagine trying to transition back. Most of our problems now hinge on how we go above and beyond basic literacy and math skills, not whether we do.

  • by RaceProUK (1137575) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @12:52PM (#46474451) Homepage

    It is indoctrination, pure and simple

    Basic literacy and numeracy is indoctrination now? I think your tinfoil hat's a little tight.

  • by Max Threshold (540114) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @01:06PM (#46474595)

    "First off, getting stuck with a class of crappy students can cost you your job . . ."

    No, that's not how the evaluations would work. The improvement of individual students could be tracked and evaluated against the standard.

    "Once they receive tenure, they should no longer be subject to evaluation . . ."

    That should not be true of anyone.

  • Uhhh... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by the_skywise (189793) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @01:22PM (#46474751)

    Coleman stressed that Khan Academy and CollegeBoard will be the only places in the world that students will be able to encounter free materials for the exam that are "focused on the core of the math and literacy that matters most."

    Does that throw up red flags for anybody else?

    Why are we supporting an educational policy where a private corp gets to not only dictate who gets "scholastically approved" but also controls the flow of information used to prepare for said approval?

  • by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @01:33PM (#46474877) Journal
    You seem to have shot yourself in the foot. From a 2004 paper in World Psychology on teen suicide [nih.gov]:

    rates per 100,000 young persons aged 15-19
    country year Total

    USA 2000 8
    Japan 2000 4
    China 1999 4

    To be quite blunt, your entire argument seems to be that high standards and expectations are a bad thing. That, of course, flies in the face of the recently validated idea that high expectations lead to high performance [google.com]

    When I was in third grade, we didn't write out the times tables, we wrote out every single number between one and a thousand in numbers and in letters by ones, one and ten thousand by fives, tens, and fifties, and one and one million by hundreds as homework. It took about a week. That is a form of rote memorization and it works.

    You talk about Common Core producing "confused, bitter adults.. or the worker drones they really want", yet the current curriculum is based more on memorization and parroting back the "correct" answers and gives partial credit for utilizing the correct method even if the answer is wrong (that, by the way, boils down to "it doesn't matter what you get as long as you do things my way") rather than critical thinking which many say is a hallmark of Common Core [google.com]

    It really sounds like your "bright" kid liked science and school when it was easier and as he has gotten older he has, like so many kids, started to dislike school and you are blaming Common Core instead of actually finding out why your kid doesn't like it. Maybe you should start spending more time with your kid and helping him with his studies, something called "being a parent", instead of making excuses.

  • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @01:38PM (#46474929)

    The focus is on making sure kids understand math, rather than being able to solve problems.

    If you "understand" math, but can't solve problems with it, then you don't understand math, or at least not anything useful about it.

  • by Pumpkin Tuna (1033058) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @02:46PM (#46475601)

    Oh please! You're talking about two idiot groups that make content aligned to Common Core as if CC was a plane and they provided the engines. All your examples show is that somebody looked at the standards and then wrote some political crap to try and sell. They were probably making the same crap aligned with individual state standards a few years ago. Do you think any school systems will actually buy it?

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