Close Reading Exercise of the Day: The STL Post-Dispatch and Its Lack of Understanding of Common Core Issues
Postcard from Mound City, May 3
It’s interesting that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch insists on running editorials, op eds and cartoons supporting Common Core. It’s a newspaper that supported the Occupy movement which fought against corporate interests directing government policy. The fact that corporatists are in charge of public education (while being funded by the Federal Government) is apparently lost on the Post’s editorial board. It turns a blind eye to the extraordinary amount Bill Gates has funneled into Common Core and private industry directing public policy.
The Editorial Board must not have done its due diligence on what Common Core States Standards Initiative really is. PUBLIC education development/delivery is now being controlled by PRIVATE organizations held unaccountable to voters and legislatures while using taxpayer money.
Can anyone tell me why a paper supportive of Occupy Wall Street would be supportive of Common Core? Is the Post-Dispatch supportive of large corporations such as Pearson controlling the market (destroying competition from smaller businesses) while using taxpayer money with no taxpayer input? Is the Post-Dispatch supportive of an initiative that is nothing more than a massive stimulus funding program (it’s not a law)…and whose funding is due to run out in September 2104? Is the Post-Dispatch supportive of unfunded mandates?
When did the paper become a mouthpiece for the corporatists and an initiative that has been described as “NCLB on steroids”? NCLB had unattainable goals and the privately controlled CCSSI has established more utopian goals that will prove to be just as elusive. Can the editorial board inform readers how the CCSS goal of making 100% of students “college and career ready” is significantly different from the NCLB goal of having 100% of students “proficient” by 2014? Having a goal of 100% success on anything has proven impossible in the past, so what’s the magic bean students eat this time around to ensure they are 100% successful in educational goals established by private organizations?
The Post-Dispatch would make you think the standards is this magic bean for student success. But like Jack and the Beanstalk, CCSSI is a fairy tale. Standards won’t cause a dramatic shift in educational excellence. If they were the panacea of achievement, Missouri students would have been top performing if you listen to these officials:
- Former Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings in 2008 said Missouri had excellent standards (up there with Massachusetts)
- Governor Nixon in February 2009 said Missouri had “outstanding” education
- Commissioner Nicastro stated in her acceptance speech in July 2009 said Missouri had very high standards.
What was the problem why 7% of Missouri students were failing in 2009 according to Nicastro? It wasn’t because of our low standards. Nope. It was….poverty. Can the Post-Dispatch in an editorial cartoon or op ed explain how “higher standards” (which Nicastro has now described as “the floor”) negate her original contention that poverty is the reason for student failure?
The Post-Dispatch hasn’t addressed the historical context of how standards are written, who writes them and the fact that until the CCSSI copyrighted the standards we are mandated to use, PUBLIC education standards were in the PUBLIC domain. Why would PUBLIC standards now be controlled by PRIVATE organizations with no changes to the standards legally allowed? Doesn’t this raise any flags for any education reporter at the paper?
This cartoon is disingenuous. The legislators are not saying they don’t want standards in Missouri. They are not denying children high standards. Missouri wants to direct the standards appropriate to Missouri children and the ability to change them when/if they need to be altered. We apparently had very high standards in 2008 and 2009 before we signed on to the Common Core standards which are “the floor”. Maybe the real Common Core story for the Post-Dispatch to cover starts in 2008 to explain the disconnect and conflicting talking points we hear from educational political appointees and the governor about the standards.
This is a misleading cartoon that parrots corporatist talking points and is not useful understanding what CCSSI really means for students, teachers and taxpayers. This is a visual example of a CCSS close reading exercise. It’s a point of view without historical context.