Rebecca Steinitz, a parent with impressive credentials in education (Ph.D. in English) and a supporter of Common Core, wrote an open letter to the Obama’s comparing what her daughter and excellent student, Eva, found about Common Core testing, that Obama’s daughter, Sasha, wouldn’t know about, as she is apparently not required to take the same tests. The short story is that this mother and educator has seen the “quality and rigor of Eva’s schoolwork,” under Common Core, but believes testing under PARCC [Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers] is a mess.
Rebecca Steinitz, the mother of Eva and a literacy consultant in urban high schools, a writer and an editor, previously the director of the High School Program at Lesley University’s School of Education, and an English Professor at Ohio Wesleyan University directing the Freshman Writing Program gave an example of a question (read it here) that her daughter thought “crazy,” “a stupid, impossible test.” Eva, an “excellent student and an avid reader,” made a C on the test.
What I find interesting is, Mrs. Steinitz’s took some of the tests herself:
I have a Ph.D. in English, I’ve been in college and high school classrooms for over 20 years, and for much of that time I’ve trained and coached high school English teachers. I was shocked that the ninth grade test included an excerpt from Bleak House, a Dickens novel that is usually taught in college. I got seven out of 36 multiple choice questions wrong on the eleventh grade test. And I had no idea what to do with this essay prompt on the third grade test:
Old Mother West Wind and the Sandwitch both try to teach important lessons to characters in the stories. Write an essay that explains how Old Mother West Wind’s and the Sandwitch’s words and actions are important to the plots of the stories. Use what you learned about the characters to support your essay.
Would Sasha have been able to figure this out in third grade? And, more importantly, is there any reason a third grader should have to figure out an essay prompt this broad and abstract?
According to “Achieve,” an organization deeply involved in Common Core, ” most high school students need remedial English help in college,” including those entering a two-year college.
There is no way to look at this problem without facing the fact that students are routinely passed on to the next grade when they cannot read.
Passing failing students is every day life in the U.S. We’ve been doing it for years. Are teacher’s forced to be “politically correct” and pass these kids on?
If teacher’s have not taught a generation of children to read, how will Common Core change that reality with the next generation?
For more on Common Core, see my database here, and discover who is behind Common Core and the few who will make billions off of your child, here.
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