Read the quotes below and see if you can guess which Common Core State Standards (CCSS) support group might have written them. Choices could include the Council of Chief State School Officers, the National Governors’ Association, the US Department of Education, the national standards creation group known as Achieve and others.
“Mere memorization of facts becomes less important than creative thinking and the application of those facts in performance situations.”
“Teachers are viewed as resources, coaches, and co-learners, allowing children to make choices and share in decision making.”
“Questions are asked to generate discussion rather than to provide answers.”
“The focus of assessment shifts to match the type of learning in the…classroom. The format becomes more open-ended and less formal.” “Ability to ‘make-meaning’ is understood to be both process and product-oriented in this type of assessment.”
“The elements of reading and writing are viewed as integrated processes and are integrated into all disciplines rather than being isolated within the language arts curriculum.”
For the real answer, click the “Read more” link. Prepare to be surprised and shocked.
The quotes above do sound remarkably like claims for Common Core State Standards that we are hearing across the nation today. However, these comments were not published recently.
In fact, the quotes above come from a 1993 document – that’s right, 1993, two decades ago. This document is from Kentucky’s very own department of education and is titled, “Transformations: Kentucky’s Curriculum Framework, Volume II.”
Transformations was part of an education support package created after the Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990 (KERA) mandated a massive change in the state’s entire K to 12 education system.
Two decades later, the very same, now stale Progressive Education fad ideas that influenced Kentucky’s classrooms in the early 1990s are being pushed as though they are new ideas. This time it’s happening not only in Kentucky, but across the entire country.
Consider the similarities:
• Common Core supporters assert that mastery of processes and higher order thinking is much more important than the knowledge of education facts. Kentuckians heard precisely same assertion when their state launched its first reform-based assessment, called the Kentucky Instructional Results Information System (KIRIS) in 1992.
• Getting the right answer is not as important as knowing the process.
• Common Core pushes the idea of interdisciplinary overlaps in instruction. For example, the nominal English language arts part of Common Core actually reaches out into all other academic areas like science and social studies with reading lists and requirements for the types and amounts of non-literature-based reading that students must do. As you can see in the quotes from Transformations above, interdisciplinary concepts were also pushed two decades ago under KERA.
• Teachers are to be more “guides on the side” than “sages on the stage.”
So, more “seasoned” citizens in Kentucky recall hearing all the Common Core hype before.
And, perhaps more importantly, informed Kentuckians know how the Bluegrass State’s 1990s foray into Progressive Education fad ideas turned out.
Consider these results:
The 2013 high school graduates’ ACT college entrance test results release from the ACT, Inc. show a total of 11 states had graduate participation rates of 95 to 100 percent. That allows reasonable comparison of ACT performance in those 11 states.
However, due to extreme differences in state racial demographics, you have to break the scores down by race to do any intelligent comparison of academic performance with any testing program. Those breakdowns can be found in the various states’ ACT Profile Reports.
When we consider white students, who make up about four out of five students in Kentucky’s public education system, Bluegrass State whites scored at or near the bottom of the 2013 ACT College Readiness Benchmark Scores listings in every tested subject, English, math, reading and science.
In some cases, even whites in much maligned Mississippi outscored whites in Kentucky (English and reading).
NAEP Math Testing:
A little work with the Main NAEP Data Explorer shows that in the 2011 NAEP Grade 8 Math Assessment, Kentucky’s white students only outscored whites in three other states by a statistically significant amount. That is all the state has progressed after more than two decades of a push for supposedly superior Common Core type education activity in Kentucky. If we only compare white performance for students eligible for the federal school lunch program, Kentucky’s poor whites only outscored poor whites in two other states by a statistically significant amount.
NAEP Science Testing:
According to the NAEP Data Explorer, in the 2011 NAEP Grade 8 Science Assessment, Kentucky’s whites only outscored whites in four other states by a statistically significant amount. If we only consider whites in the school lunch program, Kentucky only outscored poor whites in two states in science by a statistically significant amount.
NAEP Reading Testing:
Kentucky’s NAEP reading scores are corrupted to an unknown degree by the state’s nation-leading exclusion rate of students with learning disabilities.
This happens for a reason. Kentucky allows score-corrupting reading accommodations on its own state reading tests. In other words, the state allows its so-called reading test to be read to many of its learning disabled students. The state treats those spoken word comprehension tests as though they are real, printed text reading results in the overall calculation of school scores, however.
The NAEP will not allow such nonsense on its reading assessments.
In consequence, most, if not all, of the Kentucky students excluded from the NAEP were probably non-readers. Due to the lack of any test results for these students from a true, printed text decoding and comprehension assessment, no-one knows for sure.
This is the stuff that Progressive Education ideas lead to.
As a note, the PARCC testing consortium that is creating Common Core tests recently announced that it will also permit the very same, test-corrupting practices for learning disabled students on its reading tests.
That PARCC decision virtually insures that serious deficiencies in reading assessments currently found in Kentucky will now infect other state assessments, as well.
This is what will happen when faltering education fad ideas from Kentucky get sold elsewhere as research-proven concepts.
Parents and others truly concerned about education need to wake up to what has been going on in Kentucky for the past 23 years and realize that Common Core will bring the same down on the heads of children across the country.
I have not been able to find the 1993 issue of Transformations: Kentucky’s Curriculum Framework on line, but a more recently issued searchable PDF version is available here and a scanned 1995 edition is found here.
The language on print page number 133 of Volume II in these more recent documents is the same as that found in the 1993 version, providing compelling evidence that key academic concepts pushed in Kentucky in the early 1990s are remarkably like those now being pushed by Common Core.
Of special note, this Transformations material appears under the heading of “Whole Language Approach.” Thus, the undergirding philosophies of Common Core are the same as the widely discredited Whole Language approach to teaching. Sadly, the Common Core process created an opening for those lurking Progressive Education supporters of this failed-in-Kentucky philosophy to resurface, this time grabbing control of education in the vast majority of all the states.