The Common Core Shift: Misconceptions of Teacher Education by Jesse Bluma



The Common Core Shift:  Page 2/5





The following is a look at the misconceptions and drawbacks.

The Common Core is a large expense for taxpayers.  “Based on a range of state estimates, a reasonable estimate of the total nationwide cost ‘would be $30 billion,’ said Liv Finne, director of the Washington Policy Institute’s education center. Forty-five states and Washington, DC have adopted the Core in the past two years, largely in attempts to receive Obama administration grants.  (Source:  http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2011/11/28/implementing-common-core-could-cost-states-30-billion)  “The cost of Common Core will be $800 million in California, $300 million in Washington state.” (Source:  http://www.washingtonpolicy.org/blog/post/cost-common-core-standards-will-be-800-million-california-300-million-washington-state)  The proponents of Common Core stress the importance of slowing down.  If we slow down and reread the cost of implementing Common Core we have to imagine what else could we have done with that money.  We must also think deeply what we are getting for that money.  Did the edu-corporations and education experts have such secretive and valuable teaching strategies that we had to pay them $30,000,000,000?    

A great unfounded fear is that teachers are not prepared to teach.  Thus, we must need Common Core.  Yes, some individuals that enter the profession entered for a myriad of reasons and they are in the wrong vocation.  Some teachers excelled in college, a teacher preparation program after college, student teaching, and a job interview.  Yet, in the classroom it was a different story.  Those are the instances principals need to step in guide these individuals into other professions.  Most teachers make teaching look easy because they have personality types, education, skills, and the art of teaching in their blood.  Teachers know what to teach and how to teach.  Unfortunately, there was no need to spend $30 billion on Common Core to find out the best teaching practices.  In California for example, there are rigorous requirements to become a teacher.  These requirements include:

i. A baccalaureate degree in a field other than professional education from a regionally accredited college or university.

ii. An approved program of professional preparation, including supervised student teaching and passing teacher performance assessments.  A two-semester or three-semester program may be taken during the fourth and/or fifth year of study.

iii. Pass the CBEST exam.  

iv. Demonstration of subject matter knowledge appropriate to the specific credential being authorized. For single subject candidates, this can be achieved either by passing a state-approved subject matter examination, which is the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET), or by completing a state-approved subject matter preparation program. Multiple subject candidates must demonstrate subject matter competence by passing the Multiple Subjects CSET.  Mild/Moderate and Moderate/Severe education specialist candidates must demonstrate subject matter competence. 

v. Satisfactory completion of at least two semester units of work on the provisions and principles of the U.S. Constitution, or passage of an examination on this area from a regionally accredited college or university, or a B.A./B.S. degree.

vi. Passage of the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (RICA), a state-mandated examination for reading instruction. This is required for the Multiple Subject Credential and the Education Specialist Credentials, but not for the Single Subject Credential.

vii.  In California, professional teacher preparation is a two- or three-semester program taken during the fourth and/or fifth year of college; there is no major in education.  (Source:  http://www.fullerton.edu/catalogprevious/catalog2007-2009/academic_programs/teachingcred.asp)

viii.  Additionally, teachers must “clear” their preliminary credential after finishing a teacher program.  This process is done after employment in a school district, whereby a teacher takes additional college courses.  The clearing process is three to five courses, depending upon how each individual university structures their program.  (*Note:  teachers must pay for these courses.)  

ix.  Also, teachers must participate in a two year program entitled Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA) Induction.  Teachers must participate in the BTSA program during their first two years of employment.  Year 1 of BTSA focuses on teaching teachers about assessment and pedagogy.  Year 2 focuses on assessment and teacher practice.  (*Note:  teachers must also pay for this program.) 

x.  Beyond these requirements 52% of teachers earn a master’s degree of higher.  
(Source:  http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=28)

xi.  Some teachers also opt to get a National Board Certification.  This certification requires teachers to analyze their own teaching and prove advanced skills.  There are more than 110,000 National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) nationwide.  (Source:  http://www.nbpts.org/national-board-certification)

xii.  Lastly, teachers attend ongoing staff meetings, Data Team meetings, Professional Learning Community meetings, ongoing development and training, and attend seminars.

“Ready or Not: Creating a High School Diploma That Counts,” found that both employers and colleges are demanding more of high school graduates than in the past.  According to Achieve, Inc., the major problem currently facing the American school system is that high school graduates were not provided with the skills and knowledge they needed to succeed.  The report continues that the diploma itself lost its value because graduates could not compete successfully beyond high school, and that the solution to this problem is a common set of rigorous standards.  This study is a major event in the origins of Common Core and the presumed “shift” needed in teaching practices.  (Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Core_State_Standards_Initiative)

Misunderstanding and Misrepresenting...








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