Archive for September, 2012

A while back I wrote a piece called “Like Water for Education”  using the analogy of what multinational corporations and world banking do to natural resources in impoverished developing nations to what is happening in education reform in the U.S.

I thought I was just being metaphorical.  Lately, I’ve come to discover that it’s a whole lot more.

The same folks who brought you the water crisis, as documented in the film Flow , are literally (not figuratively) the same people bringing neoliberal, free market, and privatized “education reform” to a global scale, and directly shaping United States policy to fit its image. The World Bank.

Of course, one would agree that the World Bank- having its fingers in the huge global pie of agriculture, energy, and finance- would also have an interest in education. And to look at their websites (at a glance) their motives seem altruistic, of course.  I mean, who doesn’t want to bring good education to farthest and poorest regions of the planet, and to elevate the standard of living for whole groups of people?

But read the fine print.  As they say, “the devil’s the details.”

What I discovered was how deeply entrenched the free market ideology of education reform has in common with the efforts of the World Bank. And clearly, they have the political and financial power to get pretty much whatever they want.

What is the World Bank?

In a short paragraph or less, according to Forbes:

“With 188 member countries and an army of 9,000 employees and consultants, (it is) one of the world’s most powerful institutions–charged with saving the world’s poor–but also one of its most dysfunctional. It is an endlessly expanding virtual nation-state with supranational powers, a 2011 aid portfolio of $57 billion and little oversight by the governments that fund it. And–according to dozens of interviews over the past few weeks, atop hundreds more over the past five years, plus a review of thousands of pages of internal documents– problems have gotten worse, not better, at the World Bank despite more than a decade of reform attempts …  The bank deals with both the public and private sectors, and as the number of projects and amounts of money have escalated, so has the mischief, corruption and cover-ups, since no agency has the power to audit them.”

Meet the Global Partnership for Education

According to Forbes (again):

“Lead Education Specialist” Luis Crouch helps manage the billion-dollar Global Partnership for Education, run out of the bank’s headquarters. Crouch is a revolving door within a revolving door–over the past ten years he has shuttled back and forth between the bank and Research Triangle Institute, a nonprofit that sells education tests to the bank and USAID, according to a USAID consultant familiar with the deals who says Crouch consistently favors RTI. Asked about his apparent conflicts of interest, Crouch declines to comment, while bank spokesmen also decline.”

Who else supports the Global Partnership for Education? Well for starters, private sector corporations and private foundations are the newest members represented on the Global Partnership Board of Directors. Current Board members from the private sector include representatives from Microsoft Corporation and Intel Corporation

Additionally, Microsoft and Pearson will provide a combined $30 million between 2012 and 2015 to increase school access, improve teacher development, school innovation and effective use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in Global Partnership developing country partners.

How Does the World Bank Connect with National Policy Here in United States?

Several of our key players in education reform also have played ball with The World Bank- conducting research with and for them, and providing policies and workshops for their education outreach. Here are few examples:

The Democrats for Education Reform. Their attack on unions is straight out of the neoliberal blueprint for education, articulated in its most unvarnished form in a draft report of the World Bank “Making Services Work for Poor People.” 

 

Sir Michael Barber  is now a CEO at Pearson.  Following his time leading the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit, Barber served as partner and head of McKinsey’s Global Education Practice. In the summer of 2010, Sir Michael Barber teamed with leaders from the Education Trust and Achieve to found the U.S. Education Delivery Institute. This Institute works with leaders of K-12 and higher education systems around the United States to adapt the delivery concept pioneered by Barber in the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit to drive American education reform efforts. Major international organizations including the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Bank, DFID, and the IMF have sought the advice and guidance of Sir Michael.

David Coleman (key architect of the National Common Core Standards and now President of the College Board) collaborated in writing a book with Phillip Jones on United Nations and Education, which “addresses educational futures: UNESCO, the World Bank, UNICEF and UNDP.”

The authors write, “Far from being a neutral lender, the bank is the keenest of participants in the struggle over education policy content. While education lending rarely exceeds 10%, usually 5%, that 5% elevates the bank to a primary position. The combination of its financing levels, and the force with which it promotes its views help account for its emergence as the strongest player in the world of multilateral education.

Both Coleman and Barber, along with a host of other education reformers have their roots deeply tied to McKinsey and Company, one of the most powerful consulting organizations in the world.

McKinsey and Company plays a deeply influential role in shaping education reform in this country. The links between McKinsey and the World Bank, by individuals and by sharing of education-related research and recommendations, are too many to mention.  But this one statement here suggests much about their possible motives:

“McKinsey & Company conducted a series of surveys to discover how shareholders perceive and, importantly, value corporate governance in both developed and emerging markets. Undertaken in co-operation with the World Bank and the Institutional Investor’s regional institutes, the surveys gathered responses about investment intentions from over 200 institutional investors, who together manage approximately US$3.25 trillion in assets. Forty percent of the respondents were based in the U.S.

So this might explain some of the World Bank’s interest in connecting U.S education reform to the global education reform agenda. And mind you, large globs of unified, large-scale, systematic, and consistent data are needed to “manage” education as a source of “big data”– to manage education as a private investment. The National Common Core Standards, the collection of student data into the hands of third party private corporations like Wireless Generation should serve this purpose nicely.

But What is the World Bank’s Education Policy,  Exactly?

It’s hard to summarize in a nut shell, but if one scrolls through their websites and ongoing education roundtables, workshops, and initiatives, one finds the same key words cropping up over and over again: decentralization, market-based reform, privatization, accountability, anti-unionism.

1)      The following is an outline from their link on Global Education Reform, summarizing what they think are key issues:

Types of Reform

    • Governance Reform
      • Decentralization & School-Based Management Resource Kit
        Directions in Development: Decentralization Series

        • Politics and Consensus
        • Demand-Side Financing
        • Community Financing
        • Legal Issues
        • Teacher Management
    • Financing Reform
      • Vouchers
      • Contracting
      • Private Sector
      • Charter Schools
      • Privatization
      • Private Delivery of Services
    • Teacher Reform
      • On-line resources related to teacher career development
      • Teacher Evaluation as part of Quality Assurance
    • Curriculum Reform
      • Country Examples of Curriculum Reforms
      • Accountability in Education
      • Standard in Education

Education Compendium

    • Teaching and Learning
    • Curriculum, Instructional Materials, and  Assessment
    • System Reform and Management

Does any of this sound familiar to you?

2)      World Bank Institute (WBI) offers the Education Reform Core Course: Strategic Choices for Education Reform.  Among other things outlined in this course they cite “Applying economic concepts to guide reform choices and exploring alternative financing approaches and public expenditure tracking systems (PETS) to support desired reform objectives,” as well as “the promise and challenges presented by ICT, and decentralization and governance issues,” and finally recommending an emphasis on monitoring, defined as,Strengthening student and education system evaluation and performance monitoring, with emphasis on key indicators and assessment approaches and their effective use.”

 

3)       Javier Corrales, in The Politics of Education Reform- The highlight of the Global Education Reform Centerpart of the World Bank (2006) writes that:

In 1993, the World Bank concluded that a crucial factor in the economic success of East Asia from the 1970s to the 1990s was investment in human capital, especially through well-targeted educational investments. Many governments are finally taking this conclusion seriously.”

The author proposes, “greater salience of international institutions such as development banks, bilateral aid agencies, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and consulting firms” in education reform.

He adds that, “Quality reforms consist of:  efforts to improve the efficiency of invested resources, with the goal of improving the academic performance of students, increasing teacher productivity, reducing student drop-out or repetition rates, achieving optimum teacher/student ratios, penalizing teachers’ inadequate performance, granting greater autonomy to school boards, etc. (see World Bank 1995; Savedoff 1998)”

Finally Corrales defines the following for his readers:

Policy entrepreneurs:  “actors, usually at the cabinet level or with close links to the president, who find a way of pulling together a legislative majority on behalf of interests not well represented in government”

 

(Sounds a lot like ALEC to me)….

“Policy entrepreneurs (who) dramatize an issue, galvanize public opinion, and mobilize congressional support for policies that would not otherwise be approved (Wilson 1986:440).”

Furthermore the author takes issue with teachers unions, suggesting strategies to “reduce the political leverage” of such groups.  Describing with support, reform efforts in Mexico in the 1990’s the author writes:

“By channeling funding into previously under-funded education sectors and actors, the government gained new political allies and, in the process, diminished the alliance possibilities of unions. For instance, the government funded the creation of 18 new technological institutes with close links to private sector employers. Public institutions were urged to augment their income using nongovernmental sources, including raising student fees, selling services and establishing contracts with the private sector. As a result, new actors—businessmen, rectors, department heads, policy consultants and researchers—were included and, consequently, the potential cost-bearers—union leaders, student activists and sectors of academia—were “pushed off to the sidelines” (Kent 1993).

 

What Does this Mean?

One report I found by Pauline Lipman (2012)  summarizes all of this quite nicely:

Under the Global Agreement on Trade in Services, all aspects of education and education services are subject to global trade. The result is the global marketing of schooling from primary school through higher education. Schools, education management organizations, tutoring services, teacher training, tests, curricula online classes, and franchises of branded universities are now part of a global education market. Education markets are one facet of the neoliberal strategy to manage the structural crisis of capitalism by opening the public sector to capital accumulation. The roughly $2.5 trillion global market in education is a rich new arena for capital investment. This policy agenda has been aggressively pushed by transnational organizations such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Objectives and performance targets are the order of the day, and testing is a prominent mechanism to steer curriculum and instruction to meet these goals efficiently and effectively.

 

If in fact the World Bank’s influence in natural resources like water, as the movie Flow  is any indication:

World Bank colludes with multinational for-profit water companies, which has led to the promotion of water privatization in developing counties. In Bolivia, short-lived water privatization at the insistence of the World Bank polluted rivers with blood and sewage flowing from slaughterhouses into Lake Titicaca.”

Then American education, and our children, are up an educational shits creek without a paddle.

VAMPIRE AS CORPORATE ED REFORMER

I teach a freshman seminar class about the “myth and lure of the vampire in modern society.”   Seriously.  It’s fabulous work.

In an effort to my money where my mouth is, I am completing the same assignment required of my students last week: using notes from class and assigned reading, identify a person or news event that symbolizes the vampire.  Of course, the vampire is not a monolithic character. Sometimes he or she is portrayed as a positive societal transformation. Sometimes they symbolize “decay” of a dying world.

For my own analysis, and this was far too easy to write about, I compare the vampire to education reform.  In my class, I offered a few possible examples students could work with as reference points: The vampire as the oil industry, the vampire as capitalism (according to Marx), vampire as the “Other,” or the vampire as sexual identity, as a few examples. Even Diane Ravitch wrote a blog entitled “Stalking the Vampire in Texas” in which high stakes testing is referred to as “the heart of the vampire.”

So, how is education reform like the death kiss of the vampire? Drawing from a website called the Global Civilization of the Vampire  I found the following connections:

Information vampires. The degree of surveillance and focus on acquisition of information, irrespective of any privacy considerations, may be legitimately perceived a form of vampirism. The private profiteers, like- but not limited to- Pearson, feed off of the testing and data they cull from endless batteries of test foisted on schools. They suck the life’s blood from children in order to collect data … and money.

There is widespread recognition of efforts by elite groups to acquire and control information (whether texts or images) — notably through surveillance, espionage, copyright, security or classification systems. Consider Wireless Generation (owned by Rupert Murdoch, king of the espionage and security breaches) that “that provides formative assessment tools, data systems, and consulting to schools.”

Vampirism as political metaphor. Multinational corporations have often been associated with vampires, sucking the life out of workers, the environment, and social resources for their own profits. They force others into positions of servitude, as food or to be made into vampires, who like themselves will be “addicted” to feed off the life of others. These are the same multinational corporations that are working behind the scenes to privatize public education, turning public education into a for-profit private enterprise owned by corporations.

Additionally, according to myth /legend, vampires have a greater physical strength than the average human.  In comparison to the social reality, multinational corporations have greater strength than the average human in several ways:

In physical terms including billions of dollars to spend on resources- thanks to Bill Gates, Walton, Broad Foundation, and the Koch Brothers, billions of dollars can be dedicated to reframing and redesigning education policy to suit their image.

In legal terms (through ability to engage, or bypass, legal processes, notably to ensure impunity) – Using their friends in ALEC, powerful corporations can manipulate the legal system, crafting “model legislation” that create new rules and regulations for schools.  Many of these policies seem to evade or avoid ethical or legal foundations.

In credibility terms (through ability to reframe reputations)- Using billions of dollars and powerful marketing and legal teams, education reformers re-create an education narrative. They reframe the public perception of teachers (as incompetent, overpaid, lazy workers in need of accountability) and schools (as failing in need of corporate management).

In intellectual terms (through ability to draw upon superior intellects)- The Billionaires Boys Club has at its disposal, think tanks which can manufacture “research” and “findings” which lead to policies which are of economic and political advantage to the corporations that funded them in the first place.

In moral terms (through ability to reframe the moral high ground) – consider that the vampire has enhanced charisma and powers of persuasion and coercion.  Enhanced charisma and powers of persuasion and coercion — notably sustained by public image-building processes. Films like Waiting for Superman and Won’t Back Down engage charisma and style to play on human emotion, crafting a narrative devoid of fact or truth. Through policies that force students to take high stakes testing are a form of coercion, forcing families who would choose to opt out of HST, between harm to their child and harm to their school if they don’t (avoiding the reality that taking the tests will ultimately harm the schools anyway.)

Vampires play on fear. So do reformers. The first step to privatizing public education is to create a crisis. Note the “Grad Nation” for example that proclaimed that the drop-out rate and education are threats to national security.

Vampires have the ability to track and detect prey. Through the new common core standards and high stakes testing, corporations can more easily prey on poor urban communities, transforming those communities and schools into McCharters.

As a democratic society, we must refuse the lure of vampire. Our society is being “glamoured” into a state of mindless acquiescence.  The vampire makes promises of eternity. The manufactures of the common core make promises of transforming education. The vampire brings death. The vampire feeds off the mesmerized victim who no longer realizes that they are the prey. They are the food.  The architects of education reform have mesmerized our communities. We no longer realize that our children, our tax dollars, and our right to a public education are the prey upon which they feed. And it will mean the death of public education if we don’t stake their efforts in the heart. How? Refuse them that which they need to live: The data. It’s the blood they need. Drive a stake right through the heart of  high stakes testing, which a Texas school official calls “the heart of the vampire.”

And when they ask to come into your school district-Refuse to invite them in.

Back several decades ago the food industry discovered something called “fast food” and it exploded on the American landscape as a vehicle for providing food fast in economically savvy ways that would bring food cheaply and efficiently to the “unwashed masses” (meant sarcastically) in every corner of the globe.  Fast forward a couple of decades. We have become more informed as public consumers about the health dangers of fast food.  We have become more informed about the merits of locally grown and organic food products.  Yet, in any impoverished neighborhood, largely those in large urban settings, one can see a fast food chain dotting almost every corner yet not a large grocery store will exist for a mile or more. These are called food deserts. And volumes of research have shown the correlation between poverty and health concerns such as obesity and diabetes; both of which are directly associated with the food availability (or lack of) in those neighborhoods. Once hailed as a great way to provide food cheaply, thus creating more food “choices” to those with less income, and a means for ensuring a “common standard” of food production (i.e. a Big Mac pretty much tastes the same anywhere you go in the world) this system of streamlined production, once touted as a good thing, has revealed an ugly underside to the ways in which food availability (quality versus quantity) parallel socioeconomic divisions.

Under the guise of education “reform” we are doing to children’s minds what fast food has done to their bodies. The motives and the outcomes of education reform provide an eerie parallel to the fast food industry.

The latest trend du jour in education is what called “the National Common Core Standards”  (NCCS).  It has been widely embraced by a host of organizations and individuals, most of whom have a political or economic stake in its adoption. Like a fast food chain, the Common Core is spreading across the nation, being adopted in 46 states, being “forced” in some cases, even on those who opposed its implementation.  It ensures “accountability and streamlining” in education supposed to raise the standards on student achievement. But there are scores of research, and scholars, and teachers who have serious and well-founded concerns over the Common Core. Their voices have remained largely marginalized in the mainstream media, and many have been told to remain silent lest they jeopardize their own careers or public positions. Fear and compliance.

The Common Core does not stand alone. It is part of a “trifecta” of reform measures which many believe will be harmful to public education and students’ well-being. This trifecta also includes new teacher evaluations (mostly PARCC and SBAC) and increased implementation of high stakes testing across all grades beginning in kindergarten and across more content areas.  These high stakes tests are being used in ways for which they were never originally intended: to punish students, teachers, and schools for low test scores, regardless of the myriad of factors which influence students achievement, but which are ignored.

Like fast food, this trifecta provides a one- size- fits- all, and supposedly more economically viable, way of “feeding the minds” of children.  But, like fast food, this reform initiative, in addition to what it promises, has some negative outcomes as well.  Common Core claims that it reduces the number of standards and thus allows for deeper content analysis in certain subject areas. Going deep instead of scatter shot of too many standards. Chik Fil A only serves chicken. That doesn’t make it any healthier for you. Plus, when you add the pressures on teachers and schools to “make the numbers” on high stakes tests, using fear and coercion as motivators to educators to make sure all their students pass the test, you lose any potential quality the common core might have had in actually delivering some substantive learning outcomes. Teachers, especially in schools at risk of failing, will teach to the test out of fear for their jobs. Take a potato. As a vegetable (or starch if you wish) it has the potential to deliver nutrition to the body. The Irish survived on it for decades. But…process it. Fry it. Add sugar. And it becomes something else not so healthy. The common core is so closely intermingled with practices of high stakes testing, that are so pedagogically and ethically unsound, it loses any “brain nutrition” it might have promised.

So, who is this being produced for?

The same people who have come to rely on fast food of course.  It is designed for those who are at an economic disadvantaged. It is aimed to delivering fast food education to those who cannot afford anything else. Schools in socioeconomically challenged neighborhoods are under attack by reform measures that wish to close public schools and replace them with privately owned for profit “schools;” schools  which have never been shown to be any better and are often worse than the public schools they replace. No matter. It’s profitable. These public schools, more than their wealthier suburban counter-parts are under the gun, against wall, to “perform” on the test, designed around the common core.  The common core may not be “as bad” in wealthier schools, where, because the money determines test scores more than ANY other factor, these teachers and students might have some wiggle room to remain creative and open. Think of parents who occasionally indulge their kids in a fast food meal. Not so bad, because the other days of the week these kids are provided nutritionally sound meals. These parents do not worry as much if their child’s teacher is teaching to a test. No worries. Outside school they get piano lessons, art classes, and trips to museums or far- away places.  But we know what happens when children eat fast food on a regular, perhaps daily, basis. The same will be true of education.  For some children living in poverty, schools are where they must be afforded the most enriching and stimulating opportunities because life outside of school comes with any number of challenges that limit their opportunities to flourish.  Renowned scholar Stephen Krashen has documented the effects of poverty on learning, as published in the New York Times, on several occasions.  Research for decades has proven again and again that the number one determining factor in test scores is zip code, or socio economic status. Why? A few reasons I will mention quickly. First, these schools because of how school funding is distributed using state and local taxation as the basis, have far more resources. Second, children from wealthier families come to school with a great deal more “cultural capital” (better pre natal care, richer early childhood experiences, parents with higher education themselves, more books in the home etc ,etc).

So what will happen after a few years of implementation of these new education reforms?

The quality of education between rich and poor will widen. Students force fed only a poor diet of Common Core standards, strained through the food processor of endless tests, losing PE, art, and recess to ensure their “test performance” will be dramatically impaired in their mental and intellectual health.  And the wealthy private schools? Well, that’s like eating Whole Food every day. In fact, literally speaking, most of them serve food that is of better quality than the finest restaurant.  And the Common Core? They can take it or leave it. They provide creative, meaningful, rich curriculum and smaller class size to their students. Money buys quality. The rest of us will have to live with cheap, highly processed but widely accessible intellectual food of a poorer quality. And we all know who profits from fast food. The corporate CEO’s who own the companies. The people who are profiting as a result of the common core and new tests/evaluation measures will do the same. They promise delivery of quality material intended to serve what “best for us.”

If we really wanted to create a world class education for all children we would look closely at, and attempt to replicate, what private schools do:  Smaller class sizes; creative dynamic curriculum that make learning meaningful, creative, and engaging; and resources for whole child learning through the body and mind. I don’t buy the excuse that this would take too much time and money. The initiative to implement the Common Core and nation-wide testing, through rtTT, takes billions of dollars, spent on: producing new materials related to the Common Core, paying “trainers and presenters” to travel nation- wide selling the Common Core to schools, “training” teachers in how to implement it, developing, disseminating, and evaluating new and more testing materials, and payment to third party companies like Wireless Generation to “house” student data. Tremendous amounts of money, time, and effort gets channeled into making this happen.  But is the time money and energy well spent?  For the testing and textbook companies yes, yes it is.

But is it the best way to spend public tax dollars for our children? The Common Core and the new tests have not been piloted or trial-tested yet. We are launching a nation-wide initiative without any assurance that what we’re doing will be best for our children. There is, and will continue to be, a myriad of debate over whether or not the new standards for various content areas such as language arts and math are in fact going to improve instruction.  There will never be a consensus on this, as much depends upon the students, the teacher, and the school.  Some teachers and children will embrace parts of the Common Core. Other teachers and students may find many of the Common Core standards sorely lacking. There are many standards which I have read that sound good on the face of things.  And perhaps they are.  But others are hotly debated such as the change in language arts standards which dramatically reduce the reading of fiction (and thus the merits of the imagination as a valuable tool to cultivate in children), and significantly amplify “non fiction” or “informational” texts in which students will be pressed to simply regurgitate what was read and minimize students own thinking.  As David Coleman, one architect of the Common Core famously stated, “No one gives a SH*& what you think” in the “world of business.” That is, unless you’re the CEO, and probably attended a private school that encouraged you to believe that what you think matters.

What do we know for sure that the education reform trifecta WILL do?

We know it will make it infinitely easier to track and streamline the collection of student data (once known as learning) into warehouses of what private equity firms like to call “big data.” Like the cookie cutter frozen patties of beef circulated as “food” in major fast food chains, expediency and reproduction are more important than quality.

What else do we know for sure? We know that profits to textbook and testing companies will sky rocket. While class size increases, teacher supports diminish, arts and music programs dwindle, and athletic materials, playgrounds, parks and libraries crumble in public schools, the monies that could have gone to rebuild those resources are being passed along to private corporations.

Maybe you are a parent living in an upper middle class community with great schools. I am. And it may be easy to evade really thinking about the effects of reform on poor urban communities; we sometimes liken it so global warming: sure we agree it’s terrible but it feels too far removed from our daily lives, and really, what can we do about it? But these reform measures do affect all children in public education-even yours.  The Common Core standards were designed in tandem with new tests and teacher evaluations (perhaps even designed for the purpose of justifying more tests and student tracking). Research studies, one after the other, document the ill effects of high stakes testing on child development. Even in the “nicest of upper middle class schools” these tests have been known to cause anxiety and depression in children as young as 3rd grade. We know for a fact that high stakes testing compels teachers to narrow the curriculum, and “teach to the test.” None of this is morally, developmentally, or pedagogically sound for any child.

What else do we know? That the crafters of education reform policy, including the Common Core, teacher evaluations, and tests, (while they represent players from “both sides of the political aisle”), all of them actively support a corporate model of reform, the end goals of which are to:  privatize public education, to transform education into a commodity for corporate profits, and to ramp up surveillance and control of public information into the hands of a few elite individuals and groups. This is not conspiracy. This has been solidly evidenced in facts. But these are facts that the mainstream media for political reasons, continue to evade reporting. Truth is replaced with emotionally charged rhetoric aimed at blindsiding parents to keep them from taking action or to resist the take-over of their children’s education. But the truth can be found. It’s available. Metaphorically speaking, you just have to look past the shiny packaging and commercial promises and read the side label under “nutritional value” and “contents.” For every parent who has labored hours over researching the nutritional content of this food or that, who labor over hot stoves to make home-made unprocessed foods, and spend large chunks of their paycheck on grass fed this or organic that, should stand up and take notice. Use your economic and intellectual privilege to investigate what’s happening to your child’s education. You may be surprised. Let the chart below be a start of your inquiry.

What they claim and we hope, or project, but cannot prove… We we know (and can prove)…
The NCCS will increase student achievement The NCCS has never been tested. There have been no trials or case studies to document its success or failurehttp://livingbehindthegates.wordpress.com/2012/07/14/is-the-common-core-a-runaway-train-is-it-unstoppable-lets-ask-stephen-krashen/
That NCCS will provide “quality” content for all children in all states and locations The largest factor influencing student achievement is social class/poverty regardless of the curriculumhttp://www.ascd.org/publications/books/109074/chapters/How-Poverty-Affects-Behavior-and-Academic-Performance.aspx
The new standards will allow children to go “deep” within specific areas of study Testing and textbook companies involved with NCCS have had record level profits in the billions.http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2012/jul/16/pearson-multinational-influence-education-poliyRespected scholars have outlined places in the NCCS in which the changes to the curriculum may be detrimental. Good instruction is being re-packaged and diluted (i.e. Writers Workshop).http://www.pegwithpen.com/2012/09/springboard-common-core-crap.html

 

New teacher evaluations/testing policies will inspire better teaching that demands more rigor High stakes testing has led to: 1) cheating, 2) teaching to the test, 3) accusing schools of cheating in order to close them down anyway, 4) increased levels of student anxiety and depressionhttps://www.msu.edu/~youngka7/cons.html?iframe=true&width=100%&height=100%http://www.buffalonews.com/city/schools/article1037521.ece
NCCS will ensure that the poorest students of color will have the same expectations as their wealthier white peers. Billions of dollars are spent on NCCS and new testing measures. 80% of school funding comes from state and local taxes, thus poorer communities always have poorer facilities and programs. While we spend billions testing all them more on a new curriculum, nothing has been spent on shoring up the larger disparities which create the largest gaps in student achievement. In fact, we spend LESS on them: libraries shut down, larger class size, fewer teaching personnel, less arts, music and PE programs (for poorer communities). http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/columnists/starr_points/starr003.shtml
Charter schools, driven by the closing of public schools based on these test scores, are intended to create “choice” and higher quality schools. Corporate/private charter schools have NOT overall outperformed the public schools they replaced. Many under perform their public counterparts. Charter schools have also been PROVEN to increase racial segregation.http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2012/03/10/report-reveals-trend-of-segregation-in-charter-schools/
Charter schools are intended to “empower” parents Parents are forced to send their children to poor performing charter schools, or to send children to schools outside their neighborhoods, at great inconvenience to the family structure. Charter schools can often elect which students they will admit or kick out, leaving the most difficult to teach, with no educational options. http://professorronaldgcorwin.com/20801.html
NCCS and testing/evaluations will make schools and teachers more accountable. NCCS and test scores and student data will be held at third party private organizations, paid for by funds that could have gone to schools, to pay billionaire companies owned by Bill Gates and Rupert Murdoch to “own” student information.https://educationalchemy.com/2012/06/18/the-hand-that-holds-the-data-rules-the-world/NCCS makes the data collection a cheap and seamless process, and transforms learning into measurable chunks of big data needed to manage schools as a business. (see McKinsey and Companies presentation on the value of big data in investing in school reform). www.mckinsey.com/~/media/McKinsey/dotcom/Insights and pubs/MGI/Research/Technology and Innovation/Big Data/MGI_big_data_full_report.ashxSchools that “fail” by the testing standards are replaced with private for profit corporate charter schools.
The Common Core was developed with feedback and support of seasoned and caring educators. The financial supporters and designers of NCCS are all directly involved with giant corporations and “think tanks” which unilaterally support the privatization of public education. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sl0wjBQm8dw
NCCS will allow teachers to streamline learning for students who move around a lot. NCCS universal standards make it easier to provide education “on line” replacing site-centered interactive learning with computer-based learninghttp://www.pressherald.com/news/virtual-schools-in-maine_2012-09-02.htmThe opportunity for various states to tweak or determine how they will shape implementation of the NCCS standards will dramatically eliminate any benefit “universal standards” may have offered. They’ll be different-affected by location, funded, ideology, culture etc. and children will no longer find they can seamlessly move from state to state.