Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Common Core State Standards - just another rehashed, botched reform?

It's incredible how much today's education reform efforts are little more than half-baked reclamations of failed past attempts to transform public education into a one-size-fits-all training program for the American business community.

Take for example, Christopher Tienken and Donald C. Orlich's exhortation in their expose, The School Reform Landscape: Fraud, Myth and Lies:

"The Cardinal Principles were futuristic in their specific ideas about socializing all peoples into democracy on a level playing field, but they were more about ideas and less about actions. The 1920s through 1940s saw an explosion of progressive/experimentalist experiments and the eventual operationalization of the Cardinal Principles.
 
"Thorndike's initial study (1901), and then later his 1924 landmark study with 8,564 children, once and for all crushed the myth of mental discipline when his results demonstrated that there was not a hierarchy of secondary school subjects, and no one subject was superior to another when it came to overall growth in intelligence. Thorndike's studies exposed the fundamental flaws in the Committee of Ten's recommendations for one set program of studies in high school.
 
"Unfortunately, it appears as if many of the state commissioners of education and various education bureaucrats in the United States either don't remember Thorndike or did not read the study. This is evidenced by the majority of education bureaucrats who jumped on the bandwagon of the American Diploma Project (ADP) vended by Achieve, Inc. (2008) and now blindly support the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) initiative.
 
"The ADP and CCSS are simply reincarnation of an educationally bankrupt idea that was empirically destroyed over 85 years ago, yet due to a lack of understanding of their own history, education leaders are willing to follow business interests over the cliff of botched reforms again."

Their assertion that few of today's political leaders or education reformers have studies past attempts to reform education are obviously correct given the penchant for grabbing the first idea that comes along, even if it has already been proven a failure. Standardization of education through the CCSS, nationalized assessments, and a common high school diploma path are only the latest example of ignorance leading the blind.