Monday, November 17, 2014

Common Core Fight?

Will the CTU Still Fight Common Core?
By Jim Vail

This past year the Chicago Teachers Union joined several states to say No to Common Core. The CTU delegates passed a Resolution to Oppose the Common State Standards in May.

This past summer the American Federation of Teachers blocked the CTU's resolution to denounce Common Core at the AFT convention in LA. The CTU delegates fought hard but the AFT leadership is too connected to the democratic party and Common Core.

However, teachers may have no idea today that our union opposes the Common Core. 

Instead, we get announcements for professional development classes at the union's Quest Center on how to properly implement Common Core curriculum. 

But the union recognized that Common Core is simply a way for those at the top to privatize education with punitive measures to destroy public schools.

I understand teachers will continue to fight the insanity of over testing with the ominous PARCC test looming on the horizon.

Parents started to get active after the Common Core tests in New York came out last year that showed the majority of students had failed.

But this crazy testing is tied to the corporate sponsored Common Core curriculum the public schools are forced to implement.

A curriculum that focuses on 'rigor' while not addressing the needs of diverse learners (special education) or English Language Learners, or the many others struggling due to difficult home environments. 

They say resolutions are ways to pacify activists who want the union to take a stand on something that it may not want to take. While its parent union AFT continues to support this ludicrous corporate curriculum, the CTU leadership joined the delegates to courageously pass a resolution to denounce CC after repeatedly sending it back to committees.

That said, the CTU has followed some of the dictates of the resolution, such as submitting the resolution to the AFT convention. 

But is the union adhering to the following points in its resolution that it is bound to uphold, such as lobbying the Illinois Board of Education to eliminate the use of Common Core State Standards and organizing members and affiliates to increase opposition to the Common Core?

Resolution to Oppose the Common Core State Standards:

Whereas, the purpose of education is to educate a populace of critical thinkers who are capable of shaping a just and equitable society in order to lead good and purpose-filled lives, not solely preparation for college and career; and

Whereas, instructional and curricular decisions should be in the hands of classroom professionals who understand the context and interests of their students, and

Whereas, the education of children should be grounded in developmentally appropriate practice, and

Whereas, high quality education requires adequate resources to provide a rich and varied course of instructions, individual and small group attention, and wrap-around services for students, and

Whereas, the Common Core State Standards were developed by non-practitioners, such as test and curriculum publishers, as well as education reform foundations, such as the Gates and Broad foundations, and as a result the CCSS better reflect the interests and priorities of corporate education reformers than the best interests and priorities of teachers and students; and

Whereas, imposition of the Common Core State Standards adversely impacts students of highest need, including students of color, impoverished students, English language learners, and students with disabilities; and

Whereas, the Common Core State Standards emphasize pedagogical techniques, such as close reading, out of proportion to the actual value of these methods - and as a result distort instruction and remove instructional materials from their social context; and

Whereas, despite the efforts of our union to provide support to teachers, the significant time, effort, and expense associated with modifying curricula to the Common Core State Standards interferes and takes resources away from creating developmentally appropriate and engaging course of study; and

Whereas, the assessments that accompany the Common Core State Standards (PARCC and Smarter Balance) are not transparent in that teachers and parents are not allowed to view the tests and item analysis will likely not be made available given the nature of computer adaptive tests; and

Whereas, Common Core assessments  disrupt student learning, consuming tremendous amounts of time and resources for test preparation and administration; and

Whereas, the assessment practices that accompany Common Core State Standards - including the political manipulation of test scores - are used for justification to label and close schools, fail students, and evaluate educators; therefore be it

Resolved, that the Chicago Teachers Union opposes the Common Core State Standards (and the aligned tests) as a framework for teaching and learning; and be it further

Resolved, the Chicago Teachers Union advocates for an engaged and socially relevant curriculum
that is student-based and supported by research, as well as for supports such as those described in the Chicago Teachers Union report, The School's Chicago's Students Deserve; and be it further

Resolved, the Chicago Teachers Union will embark on internal discussions to educate and seek feedback from members regarding the Common Core and its impact on our students; and be it further

Resolved, the Chicago Teachers Union will lobby the Illinois Board of Education to eliminate the use of the Common Core State Standards for teaching and assessment; and be it further

Resolved, the Chicago Teachers Union will organize other members  and affiliates to increase opposition to the Common Core State Standards, and be it further

Resolved, that a copy of this resolution be sent to the Illinois State Board of Education, the Chicago Board of Education, the Governor of Illinois, and all members of the Illinois legislative branch; and be finally

Resolved, that should this resolution be passed by the CTU House of Delegates, an appropriate version will be submitted to the American Federation of Teachers for consideration at the 2014 convention.

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