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The Most Disturbing Post Yet. Posted in another group

Posted by on Nov. 19, 2013 at 8:18 AM
  • 16 Replies

How many of us have looked at our 4th grader's homework and thought WTF? How the hell? WHAT is this? How do they want us to do that? WTF?!?! 

I'm not the brightest bulb, but I don't think helping my 4th grade son with his homework should leave me feeling like I just threw $40,000 to the wind on my own continuing education LOL. 

How often do I see one of my friends or loved ones on facebook sharing the same sentiment? Nearly evvery day...I can relate... In both my and my husband's family we have educators, including his older sister Maureen, who teaches at a private school so they don't need adhere to these common core standards thankfully. But I know educators who do, and they like us, don't like them either.

I know this is getting long, but this really struck me as I have seen and heard some of these same things coming from my own children.

The Most Disturbing Post Yet…

November 14, 2013

Hello, America!! As I sit here enjoying the 86 degree daily sunshine & palm trees in Dubai, UAE, I am thinking of my friends and family in Boston, where I understand winter is upon them. As much as I continue to be homesick, I do not miss the impending winter weather, and have decided to focus on the good in my life instead of whining!

I have – just this week – settled into the position for which I was hired here in Dubai…the SEN Coordinator. I must admit I am glad to be out of the first grade classroom in which I was covering since arriving here on October 8th (which happened to also be my big 4-0). I will post later about the task I am currently facing in that capacity, but for now I wanted to share with readers a recent – and utterly disturbing – post from my mentor, Dr Diane Ravitch:
*******************************************************************************************************************

Yesterday I posted an excerpt from testimony to a state senate hearing in New York. I had seen it on another blog. I had the wrong name of the person testifying. Here is her name and her full testimony.

Mary Calamia

Statement for New York State Assembly Education Forum

October 7, 2013 at 10:14pm

Statement for New York State Assembly Education Forum

Brentwood, New York

October 10, 2013

I am a licensed clinical social worker in New York State and have been providing psychotherapy services since 1995. I work with parents, teachers, and students from all socioeconomic backgrounds representing more than 20 different school districts in Suffolk County. Almost half of my caseload consists of teachers.

In the summer of 2012, my elementary school teachers began to report increased anxiety over having to learn two entirely new curricula for Math and ELA. I soon learned that school districts across the board were completely dismantling the current curricula and replacing them with something more scripted, emphasizing “one size fits all” and taking any imagination and innovation out of the hands of the teachers.

In the fall of 2012, I started to receive an inordinate number of student referrals from several different school districts. I was being referred a large number of honors students—mostly 8th graders.The kids were self-mutilating—cutting themselves with sharp objects and burning themselves with cigarettes. My phone never stopped ringing.

What was prompting this increase in self-mutilating behavior? Why now?

The answer I received from every single teenager was the same. “I can’t handle the pressure. It’s too much work.”

I also started to receive more calls referring elementary school students who were refusing to go to school. They said they felt “stupid” and school was “too hard.” They were throwing tantrums, begging to stay home, and upset even to the point of vomiting.

I was also hearing from parents about kids bringing home homework that the parents didn’t understand and they couldn’t help their children to complete. I was alarmed to hear that in some cases there were no textbooks for the parents to peruse and they had no idea what their children were learning.

My teachers were reporting a startling level of anxiety and depression. For the first time, I heard the term “Common Core” and I became awakened to a new set of standards that all schools were to adhere to—standards that we now say “set the bar so high, anyone can walk right under them.”

Everyone was talking about “The Tests.” As the school year progressed and “The Tests” loomed, my patients began to report increased self-mutilating behaviors, insomnia, panic attacks, loss of appetite, depressed mood, and in one case, suicidal thoughts that resulted in a 2-week hospital stay for an adolescent.

I do not know of any formal studies that connect these symptoms directly to the Common Core, but I do not think we need to sacrifice an entire generation of children just so we can find a correlation.

The Common Core and high stakes testing create a hostile working environment for teachers, thus becoming a hostile learning environment for students. The level of anxiety I am seeing in teachers can only trickle down to the students. Everyone I see is describing a palpable level of tension in the schools.

The Common Core standards do not account for societal problems. When I first learned about APPR and high stakes testing, my first thought was, “Who is going to rate the parents?”

I see children and teenagers who are exhausted, running from activity to activity, living on fast food, then texting, using social media, and playing games well into the wee hours of the morning on school nights.

We also have children taking cell phones right into the classrooms, “tweeting” and texting each other throughout the day. We have parents—yes PARENTS—who are sending their children text messages during school hours.

Let’s add in the bullying and cyberbullying that torments and preoccupies millions of school children even to the point of suicide. Add to that an interminable drug problem.

These are only some of the variables affecting student performance that are outside of the teachers’ control. Yet the SED holds them accountable, substituting innovation and individualism with cookie-cutter standards, believing this will fix our schools.

We cannot regulate biology. Young children are simply not wired to engage in the type of critical thinking that the Common Core calls for. That would require a fully developed prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain that is not fully functional until early adulthood. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for critical thinking, rational decision-making, and abstract thinking—all things the Common Core demands prematurely.

We teach children to succeed then give them pre-assessments on material they have never seen and tell them it’s okay to fail. Children are not equipped to resolve the mixed message this presents.

Last spring, a 6-year-old who encountered a multiplication sign on the NWEA first grade math exam asked the teacher what it was. The teacher was not allowed to help him and told him to just do his best to answer.From that point on, the student’s test performance went downhill. Not only couldn’t the student shake off the unfamiliar symbol, he also couldn’t believe his teacher wouldn’t help him.

Common Core requires children to read informational texts that are owned by a handful of corporations. Lacking any filter to distinguish good information from bad, children will readily absorb whatever text is put in front of them as gospel. So, for example, when we give children a textbook that explains the second amendment in these terms: “The people have a right to keep and bear arms in a state militia,” they will look no further for clarification.

We are asking children to write critically, using emotionally charged language to “persuade” rather than inform. Lacking a functional prefrontal cortex, a child will tap into their limbic system, a set of primitive brain structures involved in basic human emotions, fear and anger being foremost. So when we are asking young children to use emotionally charged language, we are actually asking them to fuel their persuasiveness with fear and anger. They are not capable of the judgment required to temper this with reason and logic.

So we have abandoned innovative teaching and instead “teach to the tests,” the dreaded exams that had students, parents and teachers in a complete anxiety state last spring. These tests do not measure learning—what they really measure is endurance and resilience. Only a child who can sit and focus for 90 minutes can succeed. The child who can bounce back after one grueling day of testing and do it all over again the next day has an even better chance.

A recent Cornell University study revealed that students who were overly stressed while preparing for high stakes exams performed worse than students who experienced less stress during the test preparation period. Their prefrontal cortexes—the same parts of the brain that we are prematurely trying to engage in our youngsters—were under-performing.

We are dealing with real people’s lives here. Allow me introduce you to some of them:

…an entire third grade class that spent the rest of the day sobbing after just one testing session,

…a 2nd grader who witnessed this and is now refusing to attend the 3rd grade—this 7-year-old is now being evaluated for psychotropic medication just to go to school,

…two 8-year-olds who opted out of the ELA exam and were publicly denied cookies when the teacher gave them to the rest of her third grade class,

…the teacher who, under duress, felt compelled to do such a thing,

…a sixth grader who once aspired to be a writer but now hates it because they “do it all day long—even in math,”

…a mother who has to leave work because her child is hysterical over his math homework and his CPA grandfather doesn’t even understand it,

…and countless other children who dread going to school, feel “stupid” and “like failures,” and are now completely turned off to education.

I will conclude by adding this thought. Our country became a superpower on the backs of men and women who studied in one-room schoolhouses.I do not think it takes a great deal of technology or corporate and government involvement for kids to succeed. We need to rethink the Common Core and the associated high stakes testing and get back to the business of educating our children in a safe, healthy, and productive manner”.
*******************************************************************************************************************
I would like to thank Ms Calamia and Dr Ravitch for reminding me why we did the right thing by getting our own three little boys out of that kind of world when I did and bring them across it to a place where they are absolutely loving school – and utterly thriving in their education. Unfortunately not every parent has the opportunity to do what we have done here, and that is why every single parent in America must fight against what is happening in the public schools!!!
by on Nov. 19, 2013 at 8:18 AM
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Replies (1-10):
mommyxdos
by Member on Nov. 19, 2013 at 9:30 AM
2 moms liked this

You're right.  It seems like schools are taking the long route to teach kids simple problem solving techniques.  My daughter (8) had to do 10 minutes worth of work to show how many markers Sam had in total to begin with, then how many he had left after he handed out 10.  I was like look what is 7X4....28 she says.  Now, subtract 10 from 28....18 she says.  She was like wow thats so much easier.  I made her do several more without my help and no problem.  Its about dissecting the problem, not about drawing 95 circles across the page to come up with an answer.  When they are young like that, I think its important to begin with simplicity rather than SAT standards.  They don't even have books at my daughters school, so we just have to rely on her work to show us how they are teaching.  Madness.

numbr1wmn
by Nikki on Nov. 19, 2013 at 9:44 AM

Wow. Just wow!

-Celestial-
by Pepperlynn on Nov. 19, 2013 at 9:56 AM
1 mom liked this


Quote:

I was also hearing from parents about kids bringing home homework that the parents didn’t understand and they couldn’t help their children to complete. I was alarmed to hear that in some cases there were no textbooks for the parents to peruse and they had no idea what their children were learning.


My kids were issued tablets so they can log on to dojo math, istation and a few others to help and guide them. The parents are also set up with an account to help the students. I am engaged and can help my students with their homework..They are all in advance placement classes, UIL and G/T.

I wonder if a parents own education factors into this.

I personally don't have a problem with the new learning techniques and neither does my children. They're not taught the way we we're so they don't know the difference. In fact, I believe the new way has all their brain cells firing and they seem to be better at comprehension of abstract concepts, great foresight and problem solving than I was at their age. They are more in tune with their surroundings and have great understanding of human nature

But, hey, that's just my children. And I teach them common sense over book sense.




Quote:

I see children and teenagers who are exhausted, running from activity to activity, living on fast food, then texting, using social media, and playing games well into the wee hours of the morning on school nights.

We also have children taking cell phones right into the classrooms, “tweeting” and texting each other throughout the day. We have parents—yes PARENTS—who are sending their children text messages during school hours.

This another problem that faces youth. They are too involved in social media. Kids don't go to peoples houses they stay locked up in their room playing xbox and texting, Not my children they ride bikes, they go to friends houses, they do odd jobs around the neighborhood, They watch educational shows. 

I have hardened them to know that life isn't going to wait on them, that when they hit adulthood they will be hitting with both feet running. Its a fast pace world that waits for no one.

They have equal amount of time for fun and business


JustCJ
by on Nov. 19, 2013 at 10:38 AM
2 moms liked this

You're a good mom. Many of the people I'm referring to are college educated. Yes we figure it out, albeit might take a while lol. But what does this really accomplish? Other than, producing robots with no sense of individuality?

Quoting -Celestial-:


Quote:

I was also hearing from parents about kids bringing home homework that the parents didn’t understand and they couldn’t help their children to complete. I was alarmed to hear that in some cases there were no textbooks for the parents to peruse and they had no idea what their children were learning.



My kids were issued tablets so they can log on to dojo math, istation and a few others to help and guide them. The parents are also set up with an account to help the students. I am engaged and can help my students with their homework..They are all in advance placement classes, UIL and G/T.

I wonder if a parents own education factors into this.

I personally don't have a problem with the new learning techniques and neither does my children. They're not taught the way we we're so they don't know the difference. In fact, I believe the new way has all their brain cells firing and they seem to be better at comprehension of abstract concepts, great foresight and problem solving than I was at their age. They are more in tune with their surroundings and have great understanding of human nature

But, hey, that's just my children. And I teach them common sense over book sense.




Quote:

I see children and teenagers who are exhausted, running from activity to activity, living on fast food, then texting, using social media, and playing games well into the wee hours of the morning on school nights.

We also have children taking cell phones right into the classrooms, “tweeting” and texting each other throughout the day. We have parents—yes PARENTS—who are sending their children text messages during school hours.

This another problem that faces youth. They are too involved in social media. Kids don't go to peoples houses they stay locked up in their room playing xbox and texting, Not my children they ride bikes, they go to friends houses, they do odd jobs around the neighborhood, They watch educational shows. 

I have hardened them to know that life isn't going to wait on them, that when they hit adulthood they will be hitting with both feet running. Its a fast pace world that waits for no one.

They have equal amount of time for fun and business



JoJoBean8
by Silver Member on Nov. 19, 2013 at 10:45 AM
1 mom liked this

Common core is going to ruin these children.

-Celestial-
by Pepperlynn on Nov. 19, 2013 at 10:56 AM
2 moms liked this

Unless all parents home school their children there will be no individuality. When I was in 3rd grade *cough 27 yrs ago *cough I had 33 kids in my classroom. We didn't get any one on one time, we were all handed the same color by adding pages and reading material as the next child If you we're failing, you did summer school and went forward, attitude was the only thing that seemed to keep kids held back.

When we had children I knew I wanted a different environment for them, I researched for 5 years, before my oldest even started school, as to where I wanted them to go. The place is 150 miles round trip for DH to drive to work, but the kids are in a class room with 17 students at and exemplary school with plenty of one on one time. And that was K-6. Now of course they are in Jr high and intermediate and have an average 20 kids per class. Not too bad.

I taught them to read, write in cursive - no small task with 2lefties, lol - and know their multiplication before most kids.

I basically just send my kids to school for the social environment, I teach them everything else at home. Each school district does have their own curriculum, some schools do better than others. If we choose people who will stand up for schools and teachers in the community, then maybe the government wouldn't have to step in.

Quoting JustCJ:

You're a good mom. Many of the people I'm referring to are college educated. Yes we figure it out, albeit might take a while lol. But what does this really accomplish? Other than, producing robots with no sense of individuality?





-Celestial-
by Pepperlynn on Nov. 19, 2013 at 10:58 AM

Once a day, Patch tackles national news that affects your community. If you have suggestions for tomorrow’s story, emailcatherine.crawford@patch.com

Forty-five states have voluntarily adopted Common Core State Standards (CCSS), an educational initiative “designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers.” Common Core is meant to streamline state curricula through a set of universal specifications so that kids all over the country will be learning the same things. Some states have already introduced the new standards, and it’s scheduled to be fully implemented by the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year.

But the mass-standardization has led to a huge backlash, including talk of a protest on November 18. Angry parents instates across the country have organized a walkout around that date.

It’s not surprising that a change this significant would rouse very strong opinions, yet just over two months ago, almost two in three Americans had never heard of Common Core. You can bet that as we draw closer to full implementation, we will all hear plenty. To prepare you for the onslaught, here is a breakdown of the most frequently voiced pros and cons of the new educational standards:

Pros:

1. More rigor: According to Kate Gerson with Regents Research Fund, a group that advises the New York education department, “Historically, in American education, we have done every concept in the world a mile wide and an inch deep.” The Common Core focuses on fewer concepts, but with more concentration. The hope is that this will foster deeper understanding.

2. International benchmarkingInternational benchmarking was used in the development of the standards for mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy in an attempt to raise the international ranking of American education. The goal is that American students from all over the country will compare positively with students in other top performing countries.

3. National continuity: For children who move around a lot, when schools teach roughly the same thing, students will likely have better luck staying on track with their studies. Additionally, the costs of test development in each state could decrease with all participating states using similar materials, and teachers across the country can more easily join forces and share ideas.

Cons:

1. Too Much federal control: For many who believe that the federal government already has too much power, the Common Core Standards seems like just another instance of central government usurping control from local school government.

2. A blow to the arts: While conservatives may fear a governmental takeover, many liberals fear that the change will cause even more testing that, worse yet, will focus mostly on math and science at the expense of art and creative writing.Faced with pressure to meet the standards, teachers will increasingly teach to the test, critics say.

3. Wasted resources: Both sides of the debate argue that money is a factor. Detractors of Common Core point out that, due to the revamp, many textbooks now being used will need to be replaced. Additionally, there are frequent reports of veteran teachers opting out and retiring early.

http://burke.patch.com/groups/schools/p/understanding-common-core-a-breakdown-of-the-pros-and-cons

Light.Shine
by Member on Nov. 19, 2013 at 11:00 AM
1 mom liked this

Well I guess I am seeing both sides to this... My DS loves school b/c he has an awesome teacher that still allows him to be creative while teaching the standards.  She communicates regularly with me on things I can do at home with him to help keep him challenged.  I am seeing him grow this year.  My DD is bored already and her teacher severely lacks common sense and is very unorganized.  Her excuses for everything are "the transition is just so hard on me"... how about my daughter?!?  I'm about ready to pull her from the school system here b/c the administration refuses to help me help her!

JustCJ
by on Nov. 19, 2013 at 11:07 AM

I had my 20th class reunion *cough like two years ago*!!! lol I couldn't believe when I asked my eldests third grade teacher when they would learn cursive (she's 20 now) and she said, they don't really focus on that anymore..I was stunned.

Quoting -Celestial-:

Unless all parents home school their children there will be no individuality. When I was in 3rd grade *cough 27 yrs ago *cough I had 33 kids in my classroom. We didn't get any one on one time, we were all handed the same color by adding pages and reading material as the next child If you we're failing, you did summer school and went forward, attitude was the only thing that seemed to keep kids held back.

When we had children I knew I wanted a different environment for them, I researched for 5 years, before my oldest even started school, as to where I wanted them to go. The place is 150 miles round trip for DH to drive to work, but the kids are in a class room with 17 students at and exemplary school with plenty of one on one time. And that was K-6. Now of course they are in Jr high and intermediate and have an average 20 kids per class. Not too bad.

I taught them to read, write in cursive - no small task with 2lefties, lol - and know their multiplication before most kids.

I basically just send my kids to school for the social environment, I teach them everything else at home. Each school district does have their own curriculum, some schools do better than others. If we choose people who will stand up for schools and teachers in the community, then maybe the government wouldn't have to step in.

Quoting JustCJ:

You're a good mom. Many of the people I'm referring to are college educated. Yes we figure it out, albeit might take a while lol. But what does this really accomplish? Other than, producing robots with no sense of individuality?






4kidz916
by Gold Member on Nov. 19, 2013 at 11:26 AM
1 mom liked this

I don't get why we need new ways of learning these subjects.  Just like others have said, it takes 10 min to show their work of how they get the answer.  I always thought it was better to work smarter, not harder. 

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