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Is K-12 CS Education the Next Common Core? 113

Posted by timothy
from the think-I-prefer-google-to-the-nea dept.
theodp (442580) writes In an interview with The Washington Post's Lyndsey Layton that accompanied her report on How Bill Gates Pulled Off the Swift Common Core Revolution (the Gates Foundation doled out $233 million in grants to git-r-done), Gates denied that he has too much influence in K-12 education. Despite Gates' best efforts, however, there's been more and more pushback recently from both teachers and politicians on the standards, GeekWire's Taylor Soper reports, including a protest Friday by the Badass Teacher Association, who say Gates is ruining education. "We want to get corporations out of teaching," explained one protester. If that's the case, the "Badasses" probably won't be too pleased to see how the K-12 CS education revolution is shaping up, fueled by a deep-pocketed alliance of Gates, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and others. Google alone has already committed $90 million to influence CS education. And well-connected Code.org, which has struck partnerships with school districts reaching over 2M U.S. students and is advising NSF-funded research related to the nation's CS 10K Project, will be conducting required professional development sessions for K-12 CS teachers out of Google, Microsoft, and Amazon offices this summer in Chicago, New York City, Boston, and Seattle. So, could K-12 CS Education ("Common Code"?) become the next Common Core?
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Is K-12 CS Education the Next Common Core?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 28, 2014 @09:43AM (#47340171)

    It doesn't teach about the American Civil War, it devotes 36 pages to Islam but doesn't mention Christianity, etc. This is a takeover of the minds of the next generation of Americans.

    http://patriotupdate.com/articles/common-core-blotting-civil-war/
    http://genfringe.com/2013/07/high-school-text-book-literally-re-writes-history/

  • The way of Nokia (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 28, 2014 @09:55AM (#47340201)

    Nokia had ridicilously large impact on the Finnish universities during the 90s and the early 2000. They stated their needs and the politicians and the heads of the universities complied.

    Now the Finnish society is struggling with a huge amount of unemployed computer scientist, engineers and signal processing folk. Not to mention the thousand of women who were tricked into studying HR and such just to get a high salary position at Nokia. The Finns almost ruined everything for the sake of one company. Beware!

  • Re:I hope not. (Score:5, Informative)

    by MiKM (752717) on Saturday June 28, 2014 @10:20AM (#47340307)

    Common Core isn't a curriculum, it's a set of standards. It does not have anything to do with homework, instruction methodology, grading rules, or anything like that. See for yourself. [corestandards.org] If your district is using shoddy curriculum like Engage NY, that is their fault.

    I'm not saying that the CCSS are beyond criticism, but the criticism should be accurate.

  • by DaveyJJ (1198633) on Saturday June 28, 2014 @11:10AM (#47340525) Homepage

    Since Common Core relies on a narrow conception of the purpose of K-12 education; that is, "career and college readiness", then a CC CS curriculum will certainly fulfill the Gates-ian ideal of producing an army of unquestioning and near-Aspberger-like programming drones. If you read the official rationale for the Common Core there is little question about a blind, utilitarian philosophy at work. US kids must be prepared to "compete in the global economy." Yet, anyone with a knowledge of the history of education knows that this runs against the grain of the fundamental purpose of public education—to prepare citizens for democracy, with the knowledge and skills to live fruitful lives and improve US society. The CC standards are a farce.

    The process by which the Common Core standards were developed and adopted was undemocratic. Of the 27 people who designed them, there was only one classroom teacher involved—and they were on the committee to simply review the math standards. The Common Core State Standards are the complete opposite about what we know about how children intellectually and emotionally develop and grow. The Common Core is inspired by a vision of market-driven innovation enabled by standardization of curriculum, tests, and ultimately, the children themselves. That's utter BS ... this idea that innovation and creative change in education will only come from entrepreneurs selling technologically based "learning systems." In the real world, the most inspiring and effective innovations were generated by teachers collaborating with one another, motivated not by the desire to get wealthy, but by their dedication to their students. What else?

    The Common Core creates a rigid set of performance expectations for every grade level, and results in tightly controlled instructional timelines and curriculum. Every student, without exception, is expected to reach the same benchmarks at every grade level. Too bad that children develop at different rates, and we do far more harm than good when we begin labeling them "behind" at an early age. CC emphasizes measurement of every aspect of learning, leading to absurdities such as the ranking of the "complexity" of novels according to an arcane index called the Lexile score. This number is derived from an algorithm that looks at sentence length and vocabulary. Publishers submit works of literature to be scored, and we discover that Mr. Popper's Penguins is more "rigorous" than Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath. Uh huh.

    And here's a question for NY State five year olds ... Which is a related subtraction sentence? Math standards for grade one kids were simply "back mapped" from grade 12 curriculum ... no early childhood math experts were consulted to ensure that the standards were appropriate for young learners. Great idea. The Common Core was designed to be implemented through an expanding regime of high-stakes tests, which will consume an unhealthy amount of time and money. $16,000,000,000 annually in fact. Proficiency rates on the new Common Core tests have been dramatically lower—by design. 30% of English students now fail the standardized tests and can not get a high school diploma.

    And what is this for again? The Common Core is associated with an attempt to collect more student and teacher data than ever before. Gates' inBloom system will collect and data mine every student score in the US. Fortunately, states are withdrawing from this one at a rapid rate under siege from privacy lawsuits.

    But perhaps worse of all ... The Common Core is not based on any external evidence, has no research to support it, has never been tested, and has no mechanism for correction. There is no process available to revise the standards. They must be adopted as written. As William Mathis (2012) points out, "As the absence or presence of rigorous or national standards says nothing about equity, educational quality, or the provision of adequate educ

  • Re:I hope not. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 28, 2014 @11:38AM (#47340673)

    It does, because teachers are expected to utilize methods that support common core, and they are punished if they deviate from that. It strongly influences everything as a result. While the common core standards don't emphasize this, administrators do and they are the final word on how the classroom and teachers are permitted to operate.

    Source: Both parents are high school teachers with 60 years of combined experience.

  • Re:What a joke (Score:4, Informative)

    by efitton (144228) on Saturday June 28, 2014 @12:01PM (#47340783)
    Bite me. I came to teaching after 7 years in the private sector. I work harder now, including the summers.
  • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Saturday June 28, 2014 @12:08PM (#47340819) Homepage Journal

    This is what's known as "BS".

    That's what Common Core should be first and foremost. Teaching people who think Common Core history books don't mention the Civil War to be able to discern truth from the bullshit that they would read on right wing nut job websites or left wing nut job websites. Or conspiracy websites. Or anywhere, Slashdot included. But of course, if you try to teach critical thinking, it sends the right wing nut jobs into a tizzy, because they want to use the Bible as a science text.

    The first article, on the "patriot update" site, claims that Common Core stops teachers from teaching the civil war, because there are instructions to teachers when teaching the Gettysburg Address to not give any specific historical background. What they fail to mention is that the textbook and materials involved are not from a history class, but from an English unit on rhetoric and speech. They're trying to get the students to focus entirely on the text itself without relying on historical reference. It also leaves out that it's an English textbook for juniors and seniors. If you check the history textbooks that Common Core uses from the same company. You will find that they make an extensive study of the Civil War in both freshman and sophomore level texts. Forcing students to analyze texts in this way is a common tool for promoting critical understanding of language. Should those students make it to college, they will find this skill immensely valuable.

    Oh, and the "genfringe" article, on the website geared toward "conservative millennials" is made up out of whole cloth. Follow the links to see for yourself.

    There is a lot to not like about the Common Core curriculum that was implemented during the Bush Administration as part of No Child Left Behind and how it continues to be used today. But not because of any perceived anti-American or anti-Christian bias.

  • Re:I hope not. (Score:4, Informative)

    by MiKM (752717) on Saturday June 28, 2014 @12:42PM (#47340983)

    It does, because teachers are expected to utilize methods that support common core

    Could you please provide an example? I teach high school math and I have not felt pressured by the Common Core to use certain methods, so I'm genuinely curious. To me, it sounds like the real problem is with lousy administrators micromanaging teachers, not with the standards themselves.

  • by Pumpkin Tuna (1033058) on Saturday June 28, 2014 @01:40PM (#47341211)

    Wow. You are an idiot getting information from other idiots. There's a reason the Common Core standards don't mention Christianity or the Civil War. Common Core is a set of English/Language Arts and mathematics standards. They AREN'T history standards. They don't address history because they aren't history standards!

    The second link is about a history textbook. It's not a common-core aligned history textbook because there are no history standards.

    The closest they come is talking about what reading and literacy skills kids should have in the context of reading historical works, for example, they say students should "Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including analyzing how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term over the course of a text (e.g., how Madison defines faction in Federalist No. 10)."

    Do yourself a favor and actually go read the standards instead of reading right-wing hit pieces that have to lie because they don't have any legitimate arguments.

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