Sunday, May 11, 2014

More on Common Core

by Diane Ravitch

...Alexander ( a writer at Newsweek)  also seems never to have read the joint report by the American Educational Research Association and the National Academy of Education, which spelled out why it is wrong to judge teachers by student test scores because of the many factors affecting test scores that are beyond their control.
Newsweek writer Alexander says that some critics of Common Core are “conspiracy theorists who deem the whole project a massive payout to test maker Pearson.” That may or may not be true, but Common Core is certainly creating a huge national marketplace for Pearson and McGraw-Hill, as well as vendors of software and hardware (all Common Core testing is done online, which is diverting billions of dollars from school budgets). Perhaps Alexander has heard of the regular conferences for entrepreneurs devoted to the subject of monetizing the education industry and cashing in on the opportunities presented by Common Core.
One such conference was held just last week by Global Silicon Valley in Scottsdale. The purpose of national standards was to build a national marketplace for entrepreneurs. Joanne Weiss, who directed Race to the Top and then became Secretary Arne Duncan’s chief of staff, predicted that this would be the outcome of national standards when she wrote on the Harvard Business Review blog:
“The development of common standards and shared assessments radically alters the market for innovation in curriculum development, professional development, and formative assessments. Previously, these markets operated on a state-by-state basis, and often on a district-by-district basis. But the adoption of common standards and shared assessments means that education entrepreneurs will enjoy national markets where the best products can be taken to scale.”
As a historian of education, I can say that this is the first time to my knowledge that the U.S. Department of Education encouraged the development of national standards in order to increase the involvement of the private sector in supplying goods and services to the schools.
Read the entire piece here.

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