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A parent from California in the Sweetwater School District is unimpressed with what his child is learning via the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).  The worksheets (above) are from an 8th grade science class.  His narrative is below:

 

Common Core Standards are part of a larger education reform package that aims to privatize public education and lower our California standards in the name of short term profits and long term investments by short changing our children of an education and catching these remedial students later on at the college level or when they drop out of high school. Included in this monstrosity of ed reform is the Next Generation Science Standards. The Fordham Institute rated California’s old science standards “clearly superior” to the NGSS and gave them a “C” grade. You’ve probably heard administrators at your child’s school or the talking heads in mainstream media spout off the corporate talking points about how there is a STEM crisis and how we need to produce more scientists and engineers. This is a lie. There is no STEM crisis. There is wide body of research that confirms this as a lie. This lie is promoted by corporate ed reformers and regurgitated by our school districts.

Our son’s 8th grade veteran science teacher quit at the beginning of the school year and told the class that she refused to teach these lower standards. I have since learned from another teacher that five of the eight science teachers at our son’s school quit the same week. The replacement teacher is a young man who sent home a nice introduction letter touting his experience with NGSS. When I met him, I asked him how the NGSS differed from the old 8th grade science standards and he told me that they go “deeper.” So far, these “deeper” standards have consisted of the kids watching Disney produced science films, filling out worksheets, watching Bill Nye the Science Guy videos, and playing video games on their iPads. The teacher doesn’t teach. He has the kids work on worksheets together. I’m not sure if worksheets are suppose to be the NGSS’s idea of “deeper” or if this neophyte teacher is just completely lost because there are no longer any veteran teachers around to throw out some helpful teaching tips.

Gaze your eyes upon the scientific wonders of the NGSS 8th grade science homework for this week posted (above). Watch a YouTube video from Bill Nye. Fill out a worksheet from Gizmo. They are also supposed to think up words from A-Z about outer space and write a definition for each. This will be a lost generation of graduates.

Teachers, where’s your union to speak up for the jobs that are lost when these veteran math and science teachers leave the profession? They are quitting in droves. Sweetwater Union High School math teachers attended the San Diego forum with Dr. Milgram and Dr. Wurman and I’ve learned that these teachers are now making plans for early retirement. Who will mentor the new teachers when the veteran teachers are all gone? That’s the whole point, isn’t it? Ed reformers want these veteran teachers gone. Hire young and malleable new teachers to replace them. Parents, many of you don’t even know what’s going on in your child’s classes. Get involved. Demand that your child has a textbook. Opt out of the iPads. Demand a class syllabus. Opt out of ALL state and district testing. Ask questions. Demand answers. Send emails. Speak up at your school board meetings.Contact the media. Be the splinter in their side. People in the administration know that this is garbage but they’re not worried because to them, reforms come and go and they already anticipate that that CC$$ and NG$$ will be gone in several years. They’ll still have a job. Your child will be graduated by then. Your child will be part of the lost generation. This is YOUR KID that they are cheating out of an education with OUR TAX dollars. Please feel free to share this post. Do something.

 

Note: a school in the Sweetwater School District  sold student data to private vendors for school improvements in anticipation of a visit from Arne Duncan in 2013.  You wonder who these administrators are who are making these data and educational decisions for children in this district.

Published November 24, 2014

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