Common Core Teacher Indoctrination

Guest post by Randall Lund, PhD

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There is so much focus on the Common Core standards and the testing enforcement through SAGE testing that people may not realize that Common Core is also linked to standards for preservice teaching training and standards for the evaluation of inservice teachers.

In other words, the Common Core Crowd is now able to force colleges to teach both their standards and their methods. If colleges do not adopt the Common-Core-aligned teacher education standards and prove through an onerous data collection system that their program is compliant, their accreditation can be withdrawn. If accreditation is withdrawn from a college, their graduates may not be licensed by the states.

It used to be the case that colleges could choose which accrediting agency they wanted to work with. These agencies differed in their approaches and requirements. It should be no surprise that at the same Common Core was being developed, the two accrediting agencies merged into one national agency, the Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (CAEP). Their web page is  http://caepnet.org

CAEP rolled out their teacher training standards in August, 2013. See them at  http://caepnet.org/caep-accreditation-standards/  These standards include the following requirement:

“1.4  Providers ensure that completers demonstrate skills and commitment that afford all P-12 students access to rigorous college- and career-ready standards (e.g., Next Generation Science Standards, National Career Readiness Certificate, Common Core State Standards) . . . ” (page 4)

Not only are teachers to be informed about the standards; they are to be trained to teach to those standards:

“These experiences integrate applications of theory from pedagogical courses or modules in P-12 or community settings and are aligned with the school-based curriculum (e.g., Next Generation Science Standards, college- and career-ready standards, Common Core State Standards).” (page 8)

Another link in the Common Core chain are the standards for inservice teachers known as InTASC Model Core Teaching Standards. These standards are used to evaluate both preservice teachers and the inservice teachers in the schools. Teachers who fail to comply can be denied licensure or (if already teaching) terminated. The CAEP, InTASC, and Common Core standards are all aligned:

“The Commission’s development of this standard and its components was influenced especially by the InTASC Model Core Teaching Standards, the Common Core State Standards Initiative  . . .”   (page 6)

Now more about the InTASC standards. They can be found at http://www.ccsso.org/Resources/Programs/Interstate_Teacher_Assessment_Consortium_(InTASC).html

They are promulgated by the same people who developed Common Core: The Consortium of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). These are the people who own the copyright on the Utah reprinting of Common Core under the title Utah Core. The InTASC standards for teacher evaluation are also explicitly linked with Common Core:

“Specifically, this document has been reviewed to ensure compatibility with the recently-released Common Core State Standards for students in mathematics and English language arts . . .” (page 6)

An especially pernicious aspect of the CAEP and InTASC commitment to Common Core is that every standard for teachers includes the aspect of critical dispositions, in addition to performance skills and knowledge. In other words, preservice and inservice teachers not only have to act as required by Common Core, they are expected to show that they believe in Common Core as demonstrated by observable attitudes and values. A typical disposition requirement states:

“The teacher realizes that content knowledge is not a fixed body of facts but is complex, culturally situated, and ever evolving.” (InTASC, page 24)

Other typical disposition words are value, realize, is committed, understands. In other words, teacher educators, if so inclined, now have permission to require that teaching candidates prove that their indoctrination to Common Core has been successful:

“The [college teaching education] provider ensures that . . . candidates develop the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions necessary . . . ” (CAEP, p. 6)

In summary, the Common Core Crowd now has in place all the mechanisms needed to transformation education: the standards for students, the tests of student learning, and, as I have explained here, the standards for training new teachers and evaluating current teachers. It is true that Common Core is the lynchpin of the whole apparatus, but it will not be enough to get Common Core out of schools if schools keep hiring teachers committed to the Common Core approach and ideology.

You can read more about schools and their influence on the future of the country at countryschool.wordpress.com

Randall Lund

PhD, Curriculum and Instruction

randall.lund@byu.edu

7 Responses to Common Core Teacher Indoctrination

  • Paula Hill says:

    For me the argument is not so much the standards or any of the other details of CC, it is the fact that it is frightening and totally wrong for this much control to be centralized. It flies in the face of everything I believe.

  • Loni Schneider says:

    So, what can be done to fight this? So the 2 main companies merged with one Common Core intent. Can we not develop an alternative accreditation program which refuses to align with Common Core? This is an educational monopoly. Educational programs should have a choice. That’s free-market. What can we do?

  • Amy Gines says:

    This is a response I recieced in a discussion about common core. I will try to copy his original post and my response as well. Thanks to all for the supportive words and/or comments – especially to those who expressed criticism/skepticism regarding the Common Core State Standards. This opposition provides me ideas for future posts that will hopefully clarify misconceptions and fill knowledge gaps. However, I’ll briefly respond to a couple of Amy Gines’s comments and then give fuller responses to her concerns (and other’s as well) later on. 1) A “common vocabulary” lamentably does not yet exist in the field of education (yet). I went to Brigham Young University for my first education degree and teaching licenses and then to Teachers College – Columbia University for my second education degree and teaching licenses, two respected institutions separated by geographic distance and ideological positions. Here is a short list of education terms that meant two very different things when used in these very different contexts: differentiation, multicultural education, inclusive education, discipline, management, co-teaching, tolerance…those are just a handful of terms that are what I consider to be “big/major concepts”. If I went more granular, say to specific subject areas, you might be surprised (and appalled) at the amount of variability even within disciplines as ostensibly simple and straightforward as elementary-level mathematics. 2) I can’t emphasize this enough: the Common Core State Standards are ONLY a set of standards, the Common Core State Standards are ONLY a set of standards, the Common Core State Standards are ONLY a set of standards. They are NOT a curriculum and they do NOT dictate teachers’ pedagogy (nor problem solving methods in math). This is so, so important to recognize because, as a parent, when you see crappy curriculum, you can ask why it’s been adopted. If the school or district rep says, “Oh, well our hands are tied because of the CCSS,” you can call them out on it. Actual implementation of the Common Core, including how the standards are taught, the curriculum developed, and the materials used to support teachers as they help students reach the standards, is led entirely at the state and local levels. You (and the superintendent/principal/teacher) have all control regarding how a standard is met. Unfortunately, many parents, teachers, and even administrators don’t understand this. Also, unfortunately, many of these key stake holders take at face value that a curriculum is “CC-aligned” just because it says so on the sticker attached or the cover that’s printed of said curriculum. I’ve been a Common Core Fellow for NYC for over two years, and a big part of my role has been to review curricula put out by major publishers as well as units/lessons designed by teachers and/or school teams. I adjudicate their purported alignment to the standards according to four tiers: full alignment – 3, partial alignment – 2, low alignment – 1, no alignment – 0. Rarely have the teacher-team designed lessons/units ever been fully aligned to the standards (often, but not always, they’ve been partially aligned). However, the major publishers have been much, much worse. They have yet to produce even one curriculum for either ELA or mathematics at any level (elementary, middle, or high school) that is fully aligned to the standards. Even ONE! And when I mention curriculum, that also includes the concomitant assessments that appear at the end of these units/modules. If they seem messed up, that’s because they very well could be. So the better question is, why did the principal/district rep purchase that curriculum? Because it says “CC-aligned” on the cover? I’ll relate one brief anecdote before I move on. An elementary mathematics curriculum that had been used in NYC for the better part of a decade prior to the advent of the CCSS was delivered to my school the first year that the CCSS were adopted in 2011. On the cover of each of the textbooks, workbooks, assessment booklets, etc. was a bright yellow sticker stating “CC-aligned.” I was quite impressed because I knew how long it could take to write a curriculum and I realized the dramatic overhaul that had to have taken place for this un-aligned curriculum to become aligned so quickly. I perused their new “CC-aligned” curriculum and find out not one word had been changed. NOT ONE. They had just taken all of their products and slapped “CC-aligned” stickers on them. Most publishers aren’t that brazen, but they’re not that far off either. Finally 3) Technical reading is NOT replacing literature. Rather, technical reading is being ADDED to other subject areas. I’ll explain. In schools at all three levels (elementary, middle, and high) researchers had observed that students had been reading literature/narratives in English classes on a consistent basis. However, in science, social studies, and math, little to no reading was taking place. In science, kids were being shown videos and doing hands-on experiments. In social studies, kids were (again) being shown videos and making posters, dioramas, flags, etc. In math, students were being shown models of computation without actual written explanations, definitions, theorems, etc. that provided connotation and conceptual understanding for why the math really “worked.” Consequently, students were arriving at college without any idea on how to read non-literary texts. So what does the CCSS approach to a balance of texts really mean? It means that students should actually be required to READ in science, social studies, and mathematics. Actual reading should be taking place in ALL subject areas and not just English class. So now the 50-50 balance between informational and literary texts in elementary school hopefully makes more sense. Kids can and should still read Charlotte’s Web, but perhaps pair it up with a grade-level text on arachnids during science class that has a table of contents, diagrams, an index, a glossary, graphs, captions, etc. (you know, all of those non-literary elements that we adults probably take for granted but kids actually have to be taught explicitly how to navigate them at some point). And the 70-30 balance between informational and literary texts at the high school level should make tons of sense now, too. Of course, students are still reading Hamlet and The Grapes of Wrath. But in American History they should be reading The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery. In AP Biology, they should be reading On the Origin of Species. If they’re taking Psychology, they should be reading texts by Freud, Jung, and other luminaries in the field. If they’re taking a computer science course, then the most recent articles from Computing in Science and Engineering magazine in addition to them coding. And so on. This “balance of texts” is all that the “balance” means. There is no replacing literature with informational reading (i.e. jettisoning The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in favor of journal articles on thermodynamics). There is only ADDING “informational reading” to “informational fields.” Hence the 70-30 ratio considering ALL the reading that is done altogether across ALL the subject areas once a student enters high school. Anyway, again thanks for the comments and feedback, my dear friends and family. I hope you all stay engaged and stay tuned!
    I annoy copy his original post, but here is my response to his original, and the above is his responce to my comment

  • Amy Gines says:

    Trying again to post my comment….

    This is a comment from Amy Gines. She says it is not letting her post directly.

    Amy Gines

    I can’t comment on the post from your brother, it won’t let me. But he really only says one thing- it gets us all on the same page, doing the same things, teaching the same things, so we can talk to each other more easily. The Latin name comparison is weak, educators already have a common vocabulary. I think most states already had some basic standards, it is not that tough to explain those. My main problem with his argument is that he seems to be under the impression that common core is just a set of standards and not teaching methodology. Why then are the teachers required to teach things in specific ways? And test on those ways, not just the ability to solve the problem? Why are we heading to technical reading replacing literature? I want the local schools to have the autonomy to be able to say that this is not the direction we want to go, let’s do something different.

  • Amy Gines says:

    Sorry I can’t get his original post copied on here, my comment is in responce to his original comment, and his comment is in responce to mine. Just wanted to see if anyone has anything enlightening to say about it.

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In particular, AP Calculus is in conflict with the Common Core, Packer said, and it lies outside the sequence of the Common Core because of the fear that it may unnecessarily rush students into advanced math classes for which they are not prepared. — Trevor Packer, Senior VP College Board, http://www.aasa.org/content.aspx?id=27296

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