Was it an epiphany? Was it a realization that an upbringing more privileged and supportive of academic success and a "college and career" path is ill informed by similar others when it comes to judging the masses? Was it an admission that you cannot swing the consequence stick as a consequence for criteria that doesn't even exist yet?
Whatever the reason was (maybe it was the ire of intelligent and involved parents and educators with an acute radar for political/corporate collusion and the carefully crafted and consistently re-tooled PR approach), Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that states would be able to ask for additional time before using outcomes of new assessments based on Common Core State Standards to evaluate teachers.
This gives you an "out" on some of the more stubborn stances regarding teachers and districts cooperating in making your lead balloon fly (teachers responsible for attendance; collaboration/cooperation between teachers and districts = loss of funds...) Good news: the revolving door between SED and InBloom or Pearson can remain intact while the temp teacher forces are prepared.
Secretary Duncan might recognize that the Common Core State Standards are not about high stakes. They are SUPPOSED to be about depth and rigor in student ability and involvement in their own education.
The secretary has created an opening for states to get the Common Core implementation right. The challenge now will be for you to also listen, to show leadership, and to work with schools and communities to support this shift. Teachers need the resources, aligned curriculum, time and professional development to support great instruction to help all kids succeed.
The ball is now in your court. Take advantage of this opportunity, to signal that you that your first priority is sound education practice. Join Secretary Duncan and announce your support today to delay the stakes associated with Common Core assessments—stakes that will cause needless harm to students, teachers and schools.
Now the original pre-written version from the AFT page
Let me say first that I rarely let pre-written versions stand as-is. What better way to invoke a snooze in the recipient/ target of the letters than many, many, many letters that say the same thing? Sure, there's a chance that the total number of senders becomes the only thing truly tracked (instead of each and every letter being read and considered), but you never know. Also, the pre-written version can be a handy time-saver, but not accurately represent your own thoughts. So below, the original with my comments.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced, last week, that states would be able to ask for additional time before using outcomes of new assessments based on Common Core State Standards to evaluate teachers.
With that announcement, Secretary Duncan recognizes that the Common Core State Standards are too important to focus first on high stakes before getting the standards implemented properly. (Common Core Standards are too important? This statement from step one in this letter and step one in the "reform" agenda places importance of the standards above the students and educators, and "back-burners" the conspiratorial approach of big business and policy in forcing this type of reform). If we believe the Common Core State Standards are essential to teaching students critical-thinking and problem-solving skills and persist to get there—and we do—then we actually need to prepare the people who will be helping students master these skills. ("Essential"? "And we do"? There may be some less eager to agree that corporate involvement and control...handing over the vision and goal of education to people who view profit and social/political control as top priority-is not a path we want to so willingly buy in to).
Some of the following stuff is gone because I wanted to say things differently, .
The secretary created an opening for states to get the Common Core implementation right. The challenge now will be for you to also listen, to show leadership, and to work with schools and communities to support this shift. Teachers need the resources, aligned curriculum, time and professional development to support great instruction to help all kids succeed.
The ball is now in your court to take advantage of this opportunity, to work actively with teachers in the trenches, and to engage parents to make sure this rollout is successful—district by district, school by school. (Is it just me or does this have an ominous tone. "The rollout is successful"? "district by district, school by school"? It sounds like the tanks stand ready, but preparations need to be made. My focus is not on the success of the tanks, it's the success of the students. In order to foster a cooperative effort, we need to see investment and support of schools and educators, an active economy and job market that will actually hire and pay, and a willingness to pursue reform of the true abusers of our economy).
My request is simple: First focus on real implementation of the CCSS, and then make the assessments count. Join Secretary Duncan and announce your support today to delay the stakes associated with Common Core assessments—stakes that will cause needless harm to students, teachers and schools and will undermine support for a powerful movement for educational improvement.
These new standards for math and English language arts can revolutionize teaching and learning, but we need to put the brakes on the stakes to give states and districts the time to implement plans that will get Common Core right.
It is not these STANDARDS that could revolutionize teaching and learning. It IS the gifted educators and willing and eager learners that will- if the focus changes to empowering them with the freedom to teach and learn. This statement feels like over the top praise of the thoughts and words of non-educators from the corporate world, and enables the paternalistic approach: the belief that educators need corporate-think guidance in their pedagogy.
In other words, when it comes to Common Core, help us do what it takes before high stakes. (How about "Step back and ask questions when you don't understand or want to know how you can help")