These days in the world of public education the Holy Grail is evidence. What is the evidence that your care about and respect the children you teach? What is the evidence that the children in your class understand at a deep level the concept you taught in your last class.
Well, I’m looking for evidence too. What evidence do we have that people like Chancellor Tisch and Commissioner King have the slightest idea of what they are doing? Do the tests that we have begun to inflict on the children of this state – tests which they both admit children have not been prepared for – is that the evidence of their competence?
Are we to feel secure with them at the helm of the state education department because they put out a memo stating that they know that students are not going to do as well on the current round of state examinations as they have on past one? Is their total indifference to what goes on in the mind of a child who is confronted with age inappropriate material – I mean things that the test makers didn’t learn until they were in college – does that comfort us that they understand children and can fashion an education appropriate to their age and ability?
Where’s the data to show us that this Common Core has been field tested and produces the results claimed for it? Where’s the statistical support for the contention that these standards and the testing regime that goes with them can help children overcome the multiple debilitating effects of living in poverty? Isn’t it entirely more likely that we would be much better off as a nation if we could lift the 20 percent of the nation’s children living below the federal poverty standard into the middle class? Failing that, don’t we have more and better data to show that if we sent poor kids to school with middle class kids their academic performance improves, their dropout rate declines and their college participation rate increases?
What evidence is there that Tisch and King should be entrusted with the education of our state’s children? I suggest there is none.