So the past few days have seen a heck of a lot of fireworks in the discussions about Common Core. And to think some people have been shy about expressing their real feelings is to not have read or followed along.
The gloves are off! And I for one think this is very important to encourage and embrace right now. Especially since I am afraid that “those who are playing it safe by not weighing in” are – or certainly could very well be – empowering the very elements they’d rather not see come to light by means of their lack of “using their voice” at this juncture to debate this stuff in a public arena.
It’s no secret that the higher one climbs in education, the more it is one’s interest to play it safe and not say what you are really feeling. Why? Because the higher you ascend up the totem pole, the more you have to risk by someone not liking, not appreciating, not wanting to hear that you disagree with their take on things.
Ultimately, this sets up conflict, confrontation and show downs which can cost people their status, positions, and favor with the “in” crowd. Even their livelihood.
I’d suggest there’s even a cancer to be acknowledged in this quietness, in the lurker who feels strongly about many of these issues being discussed but dares not speak up because it might come back to haunt them one day in their professional future.
This is why I have so much respect for the folks who are “calling it like they see it”. I might not agree with everyone (clearly, I do not) but I do feel at this point it is critical to acknowledge how deeply I respect their willingness to openly – even nakedly – participate in this Common Core dialogue.
Let’s make no bones about it… CC is coming. It has been adopted by more than 90% of the United States. And being that it it is still not scheduled to hit until 2014 and we haven’t even really seen the assessments that SBAC and PARCC will cook up – assessments that are sure to reach deep into the many nooks and crannies of all our nation’s classrooms – these conversations could very well determine the shape of our collective future.
Some people have literally called out their own bosses in the past few days. They’ve actually shared how foolish their superiors initial approach to embracing CC is proving to be. In a more fascistic world, it wouldn’t be a stretch to see someone terminating these brave people for insubordination. (Perhaps, the protections provided by unions do have a place after all?).
Some people have called out the top educational leaders behind CC. By name. My feeling is that all of this is a VERY GOOD thing.
If CC can’t stand up to our scrutiny, it does not deserve to carry the day. The entire Common Core should be assaulted with our best shot. It needs a stress test, its feet held to the fire. What is the problem with having a public inventory taken of the various merits and shortcomings of Common Core?
Of course, for the people with political considerations, the problematic nature of this is evident indeed. But Common Core is not about me, it’s not about you and it’s not about which butt-kisser knows how to keep their head down, go with the flow and remain a YES man (or woman) on their school site, in their district, or at the county, state or federal offices in order to protect their status.
Let’s put this bad boy in the water, submerge it and see if she really is waterproof where America’s kids need her to be. Water will find the creases but only if we allow this to happen.
Now, maybe I have been flippant when I should have been more attentive? Or maybe I have come across as all-knowing when I should have been more willing to admit I put my pants on one leg at a time like everyone else and am swimming in waters a bit over my head? No doubt, that in my zest to keep up with the flurry of CC commentary the past few days, I’ve made errors.
But please people… let’s not stop participating in this conversation. Perhaps this kind of dialogue is happening in print in other areas of the educational universe, but nowhere (that I have seen, at least) is the discussion about CC so diverse, deep, fluid and challenging.
If CC has merit, it deserves the right to stand up for itself and prove this to all of us. And if it has gaps, flaws or shortcomings, those factors are the MOST critical to expose right now. (Of course, if corruption has played a role in the forming of the CC, we need to root it out. NOW! Really, why wouldn’t we?)
I learned an exceptionally valuable lesson when I got to visit the Apple campus in Cuppertino and go behind the scenes with the lead designers of the iPhone. They showed me this nut-so washing machine that could simulate heat in the Sahara as well as polar temps that would only be found in the Arctic. The thing would spin, bash, hammer and genuinely abuse iPhones with the sole goal of seeing what the shortcomings were BEFORE they went out to market with it.
The adoption of CC is so immense we need to do this. It is not in our best interests to play it safe, right now.
Be heard. It’s time for the gloves to come off! We’ve been presented with Common Core, now let’s see what it’s really got to offer.