Duncan disses ‘white suburban moms’

Why the resistance to Common Core standards? “White suburban moms are learning “their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan told state superintendents Friday.

That’s annoyed Common Core critics.

Duncan believes the alternative is to say, “Let’s lower standards and go back to lying to ourselves and our children, so that our community can feel better,” said aide Massie Ritsch in an e-mail to the Washington Post. 

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, back the Core, but slammed the rollout:  “You think the Obamacare implementation is bad? The implementation of the Common Core is far worse.

Arne Duncan is right, says RiShawn Biddle, a strong Core supporter.

A worksheet for kindergarteners on how to fill in test bubbles –don’t color the pictures! — is for sale on TeachersPayTeachers.com, reports EAG News. Maggie’s Kindergarten charges $5 per download for the test prep practice sheets, which cover Common Core (and non-Core) skills.

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  1. According to Duncan, it used to be those pesky Tea Partiers were the only radicals against CC. Now it’s the annoying white suburban moms. Who’s gonna be next on his list? It has to be a group it’s still politically ok to make fun of. Fat people or Christians, maybe.

  2. What in the world?

    How can “white suburban moms” be upset about tests which aren’t written yet, and which, logically, haven’t been administered yet, and which, as a consequence, haven’t decreed their children “not brilliant” and their schools “not as good as they thought they were?”

    Is there a secret time travel device I didn’t know about?

    Why the need to cast others as enemies? Why not try to defend the Common Core on its own merits?

    I have noted that public school officials tend to jump to casting critics as “scared,” and “frightened,” whenever said officials want to jump off the deep end into a new fad. As mothers are usually female, this is misogynistic.

    I’m not convinced that FedViews are more demanding than Beowulf. It will be more challenging for the kids to stay awake, perhaps.

    • Deirdre Mundy says:

      But Beowulf educates for ‘thinking citizen’ and Fedviews educates for ‘office drone!’ Clearly, in the new global economy, thinking is overrated. To avoid being replaced by machines, you must BECOME the machine!

      (But I’m just a white (not suburban) mom. So my objections should be dismissed out of hand.)

    • Cranberry — I think the issue is that in many states there are new tests being associated with the rollout of Common Core and the test scores are declining. I know that was the case here in NC — scores were released last week and for many school systems they were abysmal in terms of the percentage of kids that were defined as proficient or passing. In addition, there was a couple of months of articles and pronouncments preceding the release of the scores warning of lower scores. So it didn’t take a time machine to deliver lower scores.

      In NC I know there was a lot of concern that the teachers didn’t have any idea of what would be on the tests or how the tests would be structured. While “teaching to the test” is generally frowned upon, I also think that it’s asking a lot for teachers to prepare kids to take tests when they don’t know what the test-maker has in mind or thinks is important.

  3. PhillipMarlowe says:

    RiShawn Biddle, really?
    This is the clown who last week stated that Prince George’s County Maryland is one of the two worst school districts in the country.
    But, that’s to be expected from a plagiarist and hack.

    • Having lived in the DC area for decades, I can believe that it is one of the worst SUBURBAN districts, but I think the inner cities and some Native American reservations are likely much worse.

  4. Roger Sweeny says:

    Secretary Duncan has taken events like those in North Carolina described by CharterMom and applied some time traveling imagination. He is at least partly right.

    The Common Core is meant to be substantially more rigorous than many states’ current curricula. Test results will be bad and people will be annoyed. He is certainly right that many states are lying to their citizens about how proficient their children are. (That’s hardly new. John Cannell was on it more than two decades ago: http://www.sagepub.com/wrightstudy/articles/Cannell.pdf )

    But he is also lying to himself if he believes most everyone will be able to reach Common Core standards. Bad test results for large numbers of kids are going to be inevitable. educationrealist had an interesting recent post: http://educationrealist.wordpress.com/2013/11/09/core-meltdown-coming/#comments

    • I’m pretty sure those deficient state standards were once meant to be rigorous but politics got in the way and whatever those standards once were they were eroded over time in response to a constituency that sees no value to itself in educationally rigorous standards.

      What’s to prevent the same thing from happening to Common Core even given that the standard is as rigorous currently as its proponents claim?

      But I rather doubt Common Core’s anywhere near as good as claimed. Certainly proponents of Common Core aren’t willing to rely on the self-evident quality of the standard to win over the doubtful. They seem rather more inclined to use the tried and true method of ramming their favored solution down the throats of the unenlightened.

    • Education Next ran an article pointing out mediocrity in suburban districts some time ago. As I understand it, any new test will produce a drop in scores–that’s why rising scores on any single test doesn’t mean students are learning more; it may mean teachers are learning what’s on that particular test.

      Many white suburban mothers don’t think their children are brilliant. Why the clumsy stereotypes? I believe parents of color would also object to failing schools.

      He apologized not long after: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2013/11/18/Education-chief-apologizes-for-singling-out-white-suburban-moms/UPI-59591384818265/?spt=rln&or=2

  5. Common Core are essentially standards for a college preparatory curriculum. They may be OK for that but requiring them for all atudents is madness.

    • I don’t see that. There’s nothing that pushes a real math curriculum in ES-MS and the HS math curriculum is far too weak for STEM, since it does not lead to calculus. There’s also nothing that pushes real phonics, grammar and composition instruction – and kids’ writing skills are beyond weak.

  6. How dare the common people question their betters!

  7. Only roughly 30% at most of students in the US have a high enough IQ for college. Common Core standards may possibly be too low for the top 30% of students in the US but it is totally inappropriate for the majority of US students.