Common Core and New Adoption: Race to the Top

Shibrie Wilson

ET- New Trends
ET- Restructuring
ET-Standards-based Education
CA- Who Decides
CA-Common Cores Assessments

Cappiello, M. A. (2014). When Racing to the Top Slows Us Down- On Common Core. School Library Journal. Retrieved from http://www.slj.com/2014/10/opinion/on-common-core/when-racing-to-the-top-slows-us-down-on-common-core/

Summary: Mary Cappiello has had the opportunity to network with different persons from teachers to librarians all in different states and able to learn more about Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Common Core State Standards continues to be in the forefront of educational debates. Many have perception that supporting CCSS one supports standardized testing. Cappiello stated “being against them suggests a belief in a top-down government and/or a corporate takeover of education, plus a massive mandate for more testing.” Race to the Top (RttT) is a different implementation of educational curriculum. It seems as though Common Core State Standards is the problem its Race to the Top in which enforces excessive testing and specifically tracks achievement by numbers. Schools that have adopted Race to the Top funding are only focused on test scores of students and not the experience and their intellectual growth, everything is based around numbers. Not only are students under pressure with RttT but teachers as well because their performance is dependent on test scores. 

Reflection: I have heard more negative things associated with Common Core State Standards than positive. Now I see that not only is CCSS becoming an issue but Race to the Top. Numbers, numbers, numbers that seems be all legislators care about. Maybe it is because they are trying to compete with other students globally but I am sure there is another way to go about this. I do not believe standardized test should solely determine a students performance throughout their educational career. Curriculums such ad these presented are taking the joy out of being an educator. 

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Problems with Race to the Top

Race to the Top Leaves Children and Future Citizens Behind:
The Devastating Effects of Centralization, Standardization, and High Stakes Accountability
by Joe Onosko
ET
While researching Race to the Top and Common Core, I found this interesting article from the Democracy in Education Journal.  It gives eight reasons why he thinks RTT is a bad idea.  I was more interested in those who he thought would benefit from a more centralized, nationally controlled, standardized system, with enormous financial benefit to those participating. [Otherwise known as “if you clean your room you can have a cookie”]
Here is the list of potential beneficiaries: 
·         Those genuinely committed to equality of educational opportunity and who believe that only a centralized, federal plan can move the nation in this direction.
·         Those who believe more competition is needed to improve public schools, necessitating grant competitions (rather than proportional funding), national testing, and high- stakes accountability.
·         Dominant players in the educational assessment industry who see a whole lot of profi t potential.  
·         Corporate America, which spends billions a year on employee training and hopes to reduce a portion of their training costs through a better education system.
·         Those who believe that hierarchical, rational organization (including the power of technology, centralization, standardization, input/output models, quantitative data, and so on) is the best way to improve student achievement.
·         Cash-strapped governors and state department of education leaders who see Race to the Top as the only way to access millions of dollars in desperately needed revenue.
·         Free marketers and other charter- school proponents who’d like to see a partial or complete dismantling of public education by demonstrating the superiority of charters.
I was fine with the list until the last one:  charter schools.  I think public school education as it stands today is fine with much room for improvement.  But there are many who don’t fit well into a public school.  Public Charter schools, run well, fit this niche.  Both of my sons would have failed miserably at the public schools in my area.  Private schools weren’t an option financially – and I didn’t see much improvement in education for the money.  Both of my sons have flourished at public charter schools – first with a Montessori – themed K-8, and now at a College Prep, STEM-focused high school.