Friday, August 6, 2010

The Measure of a Man

This world can analyze and size you up and throw you on the scales

They can I.Q. you and run you through

Their rigorous details

They can do their best to rate you

And they’ll place you on the charts

And then back it up with scientific smarts

But there’s more to what you’re worth

Than their human eyes can see

Oh, I say the measure of a man

Is not how tall you stand

How wealthy or intelligent you are

‘Cause I’ve found out the measure of a man

God knows and understands

For He looks inside to the bottom of your heart

And what’s in the heart defines

The measure of a man

- The Measure of a Man

Performed by 4Him

Songwriters: Stephanie Lewis, Don Koch, and Mark Harris

©Dayspring Music, Definitive Music

California is now among the 34 states plus the District of Columbia to adopt the Common Core State Standards Initiative. The Common Core Standards are the national English language arts and math standards that will be used by the federal government to judge the progress of children, teachers, and administrators across the nation. Stand by for a future national test to go with them.

The National Governors Association Center (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) coordinated the Common Core State Standards Initiative. They must have done a great job because its implementation (before it was finalized and released) was a requirement for states applying for the $4.35 billion dollars Race to the Top federal competitive grant.

Cash strapped California is now among 19 states as a finalist in the running to be awarded the Race to the Top grant. The California Department of Education is hoping to be awarded up to $700 million dollars from the grant. If awarded the grant, it would only have to cede much of its authority in the education of children to the federal government.

Apparently we have learned nothing from No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Race to the Top is NCLB on steroids. It will lead to further narrowing of the curriculum at the expense of science, social studies, history, and the visual and performing arts. It will continue the practice of teaching to the state test (or future national test). It will discourage risk taking in developing individualized learning for students. It will secure the dominance of direct instruction at the expense of other teaching methods, such as, the Socratic method. And let’s not forget, it will create slick gaming of the system and outright cheating.

California will eventually scrap what was already considered quality standards and fully implement the new standards in four years. In that time learning materials and the state test will have to be revamped. Actually, it will have to change everything. So expect a drop in test scores simply because there will be a new unfamiliar test.

Educators know that what fill in the bubble standardized norm-referenced tests measures best – is how well a student performed on that test. They tell us very little about what students actually know and can do. Race to the Top and the Common Core Standards are not about improving the education of students. The agenda here is the federal take over of public school education. Students will be squeezed and pushed through the schooling system as they are now but at a federal scale. Students will go through the one-size fits all cookie cutter system and then sorted to meet the needs according to the federal government.

Cash strapped states are falling over each other for a piece of the $4.35 billion dollars the federal government doesn’t really have to fill their empty coffers without regard to what it will do to education. Federal government schooling is in the future. And as a wise person just told me – if you want to know how good federal government schooling will be, just look at federal government issued peanut butter and cheese.

I have decided that it is preferable to privatized education than to submit to direct federal control of public schooling.

The Scores are in, and the Texas Projection Measure results are mixed (Look at how bizarre high stakes testing can get).

Please visit me at FaceBook - Carlos Mendoza


Bob Jr said...

As a Music Educator, and more importantly, as a Musician, this is terrible news. There is a whole lot more to learn than how to take a test. I have gone through cuts and job losses in the schools as a direct result of NCLB. I"m sure this will do the same. In the end, this carries on into the lives of professional artists as their worth is not taught and appreciated in the schools. This becomes interpreted as artists being of a different life style, and worthless form. People do not want to pay for art or music because it is just not that important.
The upside is the parents who realize that these public education rules are not the right way to educate and move their students to private schools, home school or find private tutors to educate and teach more useful life skills than how to take a test.

Educator Musing said...

I agree. This reminds me of one of your posts - "What is Work?"
We need creativity for the the 21st century workforce, but we are valuing conformity.