Teachers' Union Leader Slams 'Completely Botched' Common Core

Wednesday, 19 Feb 2014 11:30 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Introduction of the Obama administration-endorsed Common Core school standards has been "completely botched" in many states — with a whopping 70 percent of educators believing its implementation is a disaster, the leader of the nation's largest teachers' union has blasted.

"We believed the standards would help students develop the critical thinking and problem-solving skills they need to succeed in the fast-changing world," National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel wrote in an open letter.

"The promise of these high standards for all students is extraordinary. And we owe it to our students to fulfill that promise."

But, he said, the rollout has been anything but perfect.

"In far too many states, implementation has been completely botched," he wrote. "Seven of ten teachers believe that implementation of the standards is going poorly in their schools. Worse yet, teachers report that there has been little to no attempt to allow educators to share what’s needed to get. .. implementation right."

Van Roekel said two-thirds of teachers say they haven't even been asked how to implement the new standards in the classroom.

"NEA members have a right to feel frustrated, upset, and angry about the poor commitment to implementing the standards correctly," he said.

But it's not time to abandon the effort either, he urged.

"Scuttling these standards will simply return us to the failed days of No Child Left Behind, where rote memorization and bubble tests drove teaching and learning," he wrote. "NEA members don’t want to go backward; we know that won’t help students. Instead, we want states to make a strong course correction and move forward."

Van Roekel demanded teachers be given "resources and time" to learn the standards and develop studies that will work with them.

"We also need the financial resources for updated textbooks and fully aligned teaching and learning materials," he said.

Van Roekel's criticism and demands comes as Indiana teeters on the edge of ditching the program, and Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia consider a similar course, Politico reported.

A total of 45 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Common Core standards. But as the standards have been introduced around the country, they have triggered furious debate.

In his open letter, Van Roekel listed seven fixes for the program, including putting teachers "at the center of efforts to develop" curriculum and assessments, and eliminating outdated tests that have nothing to do with what's being taught in the classroom.

"There’s too much at stake for our children and our country to risk getting this wrong," he warned.

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