#Commoncore Falls Apart in Alabama. But Don’t Worry: It’s All Candy Land.
Common Core State Standards Initiative has been an untested theory that is now in practice. Promises made to parents (when CCSS was finally discovered by the public) that data tracking and standards written by private organizations (because teachers were too incompetent to know how/what to teach) were finally THE answer to higher student achievement. How’s that working out?
We reported yesterday that in the Stover Missouri School District, it’s not proceeding that well as the students cannot grasp the language necessary in math class to answer math problems . The word problems are tripping them up and attention needs to be directed toward the language of math, not the math itself. So let’s forget about math computation for a while; let’s teach students (especially those with language processing problems and ESL students) that the understanding of language must be conquered before answering math problems can begin. The new Common Core math: where numbers become letters and the answers are words.
Let’s look at another real life example of how Common Core is not working in an Alabama school district due to the failure of technology. From Geek Palaver and HCS Internet Is Down!!!: Wardynski Covers Up:
For the past week, and quite possibly longer, Huntsville City Schools has been experiencing a near system wide Internet outage. There were reports that the faculty Internet was down at the end of last week September 19th, and starting on Monday, September 22 until at least Wednesday, September 24, 2014 most of the district did not have access to the Internet during the school day. Even today, accessing the Internet was at best spotty. That’s right, while Wardynski (Huntsville School Superintendent) has been using his “SAFe team” to spy on students (and teachers, and political enemies), our students have been without access to the Internet and all the “amazing” digital tools that he and the Secretary of Education like to brag about.
Russell Winn writes how the schools do not have sufficient computers and the iPad ration is insufficient to be useful and broken iPads are not replaced. The plan for technology needs has been around since 2012. Winn writes:
So, our students have had a single week so far this school year with their miraculous digital tools in working order.
For our excellent teachers, this isn’t a problem. They’ve adapted despite the ridicule, despite the threats, despite the push to get them to quit, they adapt to whatever hostile working environment Wardynski creates.
But they shouldn’t have to.
There are some who would say, as Elisa Ferrell was fond of saying when the computers were introduced in 2012, that we’ve just got to give the district time to work through these “growing pains” or “speed bumps.” We’re beginning our third school year of growing pains and speed bumps. Is it okay to ask when this snake oil might start working properly?
Winn then posts an email thread between the superintendent and technology officer about the lack of internet service. Does this look like a cover-up to you?
We are still experiencing internet outages in the district this morning. The Huntsville City Schools IT team is actively working with Alabama Supercomputer Authority right now to resolve the issue. Thank you for your patience.
Ms. Bender, to her credit, was doing what any reasonable administrator, what any “strong leader,” should always do during a time of crisis: she was attempting to communicate the situation clearly and effectively to the people who were dealing with the consequences first hand. As Wardynski might say, she was giving information to the troops on the ground.
It would have been even better if the district had seen fit to contact parents via one of their often incomprehensible robocalls to let us know about this as well, but at least she was communicating necessary information to the principals and most importantly our teachers.
But it seems that Wardynski, who often signs his emails simply “W,” did not approve of Ms. Binder communicating this information to the employees of the district.
So, on or around 2:16pm that afternoon, W hit “Reply to All” by mistake and emailed the following message to everyone in the district:
Please no more such messages.
This message went out to everyone in the district, but was shortly thereafter deleted from the email servers. (In case you’re unaware, most corporate email servers have an option of “recalling” a message that was sent in error, but as in this case, it isn’t always effective.)
So it would seem that Dr. Wardynski is more concerned about the possibility of an email that documents problems with his pride and joy leaking than actually addressing the problems that are occurring and fixing them. God forbid that the truth of Wardynski’s folly might leak out. If it does, it might mean that he won’t be able to brag as much about Powerful People coming to town entirely to praise him:
Just another day in Common Core Candyland. Where everything is colorful, sweet and make-believe. At least playing Candyland doesn’t depend on broken iPads and non existent Internet access. Children determined their own progress by using a board and a playing dice. Now they are at the mercy of vendors and administrators supporting a make believe and copyrighted game of educational reform.
Published on September 27, 2014