Ohio

Eye on Education

Ohio Teachers Union Worried About Common Core Tests

Bruce Ackerman / Ocala Star-Banner /Landov

Tea Party members like Beverly LaCross, right, hold signs to protest the Common Core in Florida.

From the East Coast to the Midwest and beyond a backlash is developing to the Common Core – a new set of national education standards that schools in many states are already in the process of implementing.

Opposition began with Tea Party groups.

But now teachers unions in Ohio say they have their own concerns, mostly about the tests that will accompany the new curriculum.

“People have no idea” what the new Common Core standards mean, says Glenn Newman. He’s the founder of the Marietta 9-12 project, an anti-tax and pro-small-government group, and he says Ohio should back off from the Common Core.

Newman is concerned about tracking student data as part of the Common Core, and that students won’t read books like Tom Sawyer anymore and will instead read manuals.

(By the way, as far as we know, the Common Core does encourage schools to give greater emphasis to non-fiction texts in English classes, including manuals, but teachers will still be allowed to teach books like Tom Sawyer too.)

In fact, some on the right, fearing a loss of local control of schools, refer to the new standards as “ObamaCore,” and they want to stop its implementation.

Now some on the left are worried about the Common Core.

Teacher unions don’t want to get rid of it, in fact they say it’s a good idea. But they do want to slow down parts of its implementation.

“Our ask is that there be a moratorium on the high stakes decisions attached to the testing that goes along with Common Core,” says Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper.

Those tests will replace the existing tests starting in 2014-2015, and will be used to assess schools and teachers on their performance. Cropper is worried about decisions tied to those scores – like teacher evaluations and state voucher programs.

“It seems like we’re putting the testing out there before we’ve worked on some authenticity in implementing the Common Core,” she says. Instead, Cropper suggests implementing the tests but just as “field tests” for the first few years.

Other states are moving ahead with hitting the pause button – like our neighbor Indiana.

The Obama Administration, which encouraged states to move towards the Common Core through its Race to the Top competitive grant, is none too happy about the newfound resistance.

Here’s how Secretary of Education Arne Duncan framed the choice: “If any state wants to lower their standards, dummy down their standards they have the right to do that. They can do that tomorrow. I don’t see how that educates children or helps to bring good jobs to a state.”

The Education Committee in the Ohio House will hold hearings later this month on the Common Core, but Republicans who agreed to those hearings indicated it’s mainly to dispel some misinformation about the new curriculum – not to reverse course.

“It’s not going to happen with my assistance, I can tell you that,”says House Education Committee Chair Gerald Stebelton. ”We’ve worked too hard to get to this point, we’re not going to back up.”

Comments

  • Judy from Indiana

    I’m so surprised that teachers unions across the country are not screaming about common core. Don’t they realize in a couple of years all the highly qualified and seasoned teachers will be replaced with mass produced personel collecting data from your children, both personal and thru tests? They will only know their effectiveness by the scores their students receive on standardized tests. They will be teaching for the test, designed to input only the information the federal government wants your children to know. How can you teachers sit on your hands????

    • duckmonkeyman

      They are speaking up but are up against powerful opponents including anti-teacher tea party conservatives, hedge fund managers, and billionaires such as Gates, Walton, Peterson, and Koch. Plus there is a huge multibillion dollar standards/testing complex built. For those of us that believe those in the classroom have the best perspective, the voices are suppressed. Standards crush innovation and tie the hands of the teachers. Students are individuals, not numbers. Read Diane Ravitch’s blog for those standing up and not sitting on hands.

  • bucks4me

    Judy from Indiana just proved why there needs to be better communication about what the Common Core standards in Math and ELA are all about, and about the PARCC tests that students will take…thanks for illustration Judy!

  • duckmonkeyman

    Stack ranking teachers using student test scores is like judging the best doctors by measuring patients’ waistlines. But Republicans and “reformers” blindly press ahead as lemmings swarming over a cliff. Common Core is the “New Coke” of education. If a company releases a major product revision on a national scale with NO testing, NO controlled studies, and NO test market, the company is ridiculed at best, defunct at worse. Yet we see Common Core rammed down the throats of teachers and parents in exactly that scenario. No amount of “communication” (propaganda?) will change that nor change the fact the standards are poorly written and tests flawed.

  • mrs teee

    Check out who these Repubs. took “gifts” & disclosed them on their financial disclosure statements. This is public info I found on AZ Secretary of State’s home page. Our legislators accepted gifts from The Foundation for Excellence in Education, Achieve, Inc Foundation, National Center on Education & the Economy, and The Dara Quality Campaign ( which creates The Longitudinal Data System mentioned in the 2009 Stimulus Bill). For in return pushing Common Core bills in our state congress.
    Our Superintendent of Public Instruction accepted trips to China, Japan & Brazil from CCSSO & THE PEARSON Fountation in exchange to support CCSS. All of these foundations are non-profits (501)(c)(3). The CCSSO is head by Jeb Bush & some of donors who support CCSSO are BLOOMBERG PHILANTHROPIES, BILL & MELINDA GATES FOUNTAIN, GE FOUNDATION & WALTON FAMILY.

    When you need answers, ALWAYS FOLLOW THE MONEY!

  • kimhil

    Common core is part of Agenda 21/teaching schools sustainable development,
    the purpose is not to educate children to be independent citizens, but to think
    as a controlling government wants; getting children to accept as fact issues
    that are not true, such as global warming and social justice misinformation. Not unlike how the media focuses on big
    government control, while ignoring conservative /(protecting constitutional
    rights) issues, and not addressing the glaring lack of reliable information,
    such as the connection between corruption and government – there are numerous
    scandals, the result of decades with corrupt individuals “serving” their
    constituents / “useful idiots”. People
    don’t see that this administration is trying to take control of individual
    freedoms/steal wealth and freedom because the network media does not tell
    anyone.

    Please do not allow criminals to steal the future from our children.

    ****democratsagainstunagenda21-com
    = much good reading – BEHIND THE GREEN
    MASK: U.N. Agenda 21 [Paperback] Rosa Koire (Author), The Post Sustainability Institute
    Press (Editor),
    Barry N. Nathan (Illustrator) – also
    many youtube videos –

  • kimhil

    People are blaming Republicans for common core – both parties are guilty – power, control, and the result of disquesting unrelenting corruption is a human flaw, not a party flaw. If your rep. supports common core he is naive, or supports a totalitarian/big government philosophy.

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