Oh, the irony!
The Hechinger Report says, in 2009 and 2010 Jason Zimba was hard at work as one of the three major writers of the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics. Those standards were published in June of 2010 and Zimba moved on to other things.
Flash forward to the present, and Zimba now finds himself hard at work early each Saturday morning trying to tutor his daughter Abigail because the Common Core based curriculum in his home state of New York is so abysmal!
“Zimba began the Saturday lessons to make up for what he felt was subpar math instruction at Abigail’s public elementary school in Manhattan after it switched to the Common Core, a set of controversial new math and English standards adopted by most states in 2010. The standards have been in place in many districts for three years, but most textbooks, curriculum and teacher training have yet to catch up to the Common Core’s grand vision. The math standards, in particular, have caused outrage across the country as parents have grappled with confusing homework and garbled word problems labeled Common Core. Several states are currently reconsidering the standards in response to the growing backlash.”
Now, Hechinger continues:
“…he spends his weekends trying to make up for the lackluster curriculum at his daughters’ school and his weekdays trying to make up for the lackluster curriculum and teaching at schools around the country that are struggling to shift to the Common Core.”
Hechinger actually provides good information about what went wrong, saying:
“…the Common Core only contains broad guidelines about what students should know, not directions about how textbooks should be written or how teachers should teach. Publishers, school districts and teachers have mostly been left to their own devices to fill in the many blanks left by the standards, and to figure out how to meet the higher demands of Common Core.”
And, that, though Zimba and Hechinger are both apparently too uniformed to know it, is the real indictment for Common Core. Real standards would have been written with a lot more specificity and a wary eye towards ways they could be corrupted by people who were not well enough versed to dope out what the vague statements really envisioned.
Furthermore, someone who understood how standards truly operate in a high quality education system would have known that these are not write-and-depart efforts. Real standards require an in-place service group of highly qualified individuals to continuously receive feedback from the other education elements that include not just curriculum creators but also working teachers and testing groups, as well.
However, Zimba and his two partners – along with all the others who created Common Core – immediately dispersed as soon as the standards came out in 2010. That’s no way to run a standards program, and real standards experts would know that.
So now the Common Core dog is biting its creator’s hand, and that creator’s child’s hand, as well. Meanwhile, lots of other kids who are not lucky enough to have a math expert for a father are getting completely devoured by the Common Core dog.
At present, Kentucky is conducting a review of the Common Core Standards, which presently appear unaltered under the title Kentucky Core Academic Standards in the Bluegrass State. The Kentucky Board of Education is looking for helpful suggestions for that review, which runs until April 30, 2015. I hope a lot of people take the time to tell the board that we want more than the vague nonsense that currently is failing even the people who wrote Common Core.