Friday, August 22, 2014

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Nation’s Largest Teachers Union Assails ‘Botched’ Common Core Implementation

Signaling that even the nation’s largest teachers union is losing patience with the controversial Common Core State Standards Initiative, the president of the National Education Association (NEA) on Wednesday told members that the Common Core implementation in many states has been “completely botched,” Politico reports.

In his letter to the organization’s more than three million members, NEA President Dennis Van Roekel wrote that there has been “poor commitment” to the correct implementation of the Common Core State Standards in the states—even as some Catholic schools are joining in the rush to embrace the untested school reform initiative.

Van Roekel related that “seven of ten teachers believe that implementation of the standards is going poorly in their schools” and that a majority of teachers report that they have not been asked to give their input on the standards.

“Consequently, NEA members have a right to feel frustrated, upset, and angry about the poor commitment to implementing the standards correctly,” he wrote.

Van Roekel comments on the phenomenon that “[o]ld tests are being given, but new and different standards are being taught.”  The fact that many states are even “proceeding to use these invalid test results as the basis for accountability decisions” is not true accountability—it is “malpractice.”

In a statement released in December, The Cardinal Newman Society warned that adoption of the Common Core is “premature” and recommends that schools not be “locked” into the Common Core before it has been “thoroughly and rigorously evaluated.”

“Today’s news from the NEA signals to the National Catholic Educational Association and Catholic educators the importance of pausing to more carefully study these standards before they are implemented,” said Patrick J. Reilly, president of the Newman Society.  “Given the myriad problems with the Common Core and conflicts with the mission of Catholic schools, how and even whether to implement the standards is a conversation that needs to happen.”

Last month, the New York State United Teachers union of more than 600,000 educators voted to withdraw support of the Common Core standards as currently implemented and interpreted in the state, according to the union’s website.

The “disillusionment” about Common Core implementation is both “widespread and mainstream,” according to Politico.

…the NEA’s support has always been a huge feather in the cap of Common Core supporters. It’s also provided a practical boost: The union has pledged that its members would hold town-hall forums, speak at PTA meetings and do everything they could to persuade a wary public to give Common Core a chance.

Now, however, it’s not clear that teachers can effectively serve as ambassadors. For months, dissident groups of educators, including the Badass Teacher Association, have spoken out against the Common Core. In his open letter, Van Roekel made clear that disillusionment was both widespread and mainstream.

The Cardinal Newman Society’s project “Catholic Is Our Core” explores the Common Core standards and the concerns about their potential impact on Catholic schools and students.  Resources and updates are available at CatholicIsOurCore.org.

Catholic Education Daily is an online publication of The Cardinal Newman Society. Click here for email updates and free online membership with The Cardinal Newman Society.

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