Headline on Today’s (2/17/14) NYT front page:
” Common Core Curriculum Now Has Critics on the Left”
or another version of ”All the news that fits, we print.”
My initial reaction: Wow…finally they are opening their eyes to see how many Democrats and progressives in NYS and beyond have been fighting this fight for a long time and that it is not a Republican backlash to everything Obama.
So I read…The first two paragraphs do the usual journalistic style introduction… a bit of background and the opposite take… then the lead…
“ But the newest chorus of complaints is coming from one of the most liberal states, and one of the earliest champions of the standards: New York. And that is causing supporters of the Common Core to shudder.”
Now I think…. OK. They finally get it. The next paragraph quotes Carol Burris, who I know from personal experience is a leader among those of us on the left who have been in this for a while. She is quoted….”We see kids,” she said, “They don’t want to go to school anymore.”
That was a good but mellow start. I say to myself, let’s see what comes next.
Next is not only disappointing, it is downright infuriating because the rest of the article has no resemblance to the headline. NONE!
Here is a paragraph-by-paragraph list of their “critics on the left”:
1. Leaders of both parties…There are left leaning Republicans?
2. Statewide teachers union…The centrist and triangulating NYSUT?
3. Catherine T. Nolan, Queens Democrat (chair of State Assembly Education Committee)
Ok…maybe a little…but still a politician.
4. Governor Andrew (not Mario) Cuomo, who leftist progressives are rallying against?
5. Rob Asterino, Republican County Executive of Westchester…potential candidate for
6. Michael J. Petrilli, CC advocate and executive VP at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute?
– “Few in New York are calling for abandoning the standards. And state officials have not backed out of a national consortium developing exams based on the standards, as their counterparts in states like Georgia and Oklahoma have. No state that adopted the standards has gone so far as to withdraw from them.”
Huh? That is exactly what many “critics on the left are calling for!
–“The loudest of the complaints is based on New York’s decision not to wait for those new Common Core exams, which are expected to make their debut in 2015, but to begin testing students on the new standards last year. “
That is a complaint from people on both ends of the political spectrum.
-”Teachers said they had not been fully trained in the new curriculums, and had not received new textbooks and teaching materials; many still did not have them in the fall. As the tests changed, the scores plummeted: Less than a third of the state’s students passed.”
How is that a progressive response to the CC?
Now back to our list of “critics on the left.”
7. Leaders of both houses of the Legislature. Both Democrat and Republican. Where’s the left?
8. The Regents? Really? Left?
9. State Commissioner John King? Is this serious? What left is he on? He left out teachers and parents from the conversation for months until he was attacked form both right AND left since the fall.
10. The Obama administration and Arne Duncan…Is it April Fool’s day?
Another background check… a watered down “history’ of CC. punctuated by:
“ It sets out a sequence of skills, or “competencies,” for students to master. Whether it is through tackling math problems or analyzing text, the Common Core encourages students to show evidence for their solutions and articulate how they think, with the overall goal of promoting more critical thinking at earlier ages. Districts and schools choose curriculums that meet those standards.”
Can someone please tell me how this supportive paragraph of the CC represents the headline?
11. A teacher and her class in Brooklyn who “love it” along with a reference to the material her school purchased called “Core Knowledge”, based on E.D. Hirsch’s work… When did he become leftist?
12. Finally, the reporter, Al Baker, paraphrases, and doesn’t quote, Diane Ravitch… Ok, that’s 2 people on the left.
“Interviews with a range of teachers”…”most said their students were doing higher-quality work than they had ever seen, and were talking aloud more often. But it has not come without sweat. Homework is more complex and takes longer, several said, and in some cases is frustrating parents.”
When does a range come close to representing the alleged point of the article? Where are the voices of teachers who are critics on the left?
13. Baker goes back to Carol Burris… who is quoted as saying, “I fear that they are creating a generation of young students who are learning to hate mathematics.”
Finally, the article concludes with this obvious criticism from the left:
“All the pushback in New York is “not optimal” for the shift to higher standards, saidChester E. Finn Jr., a former assistant education secretary and now senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford. But he said he thought the Common Core would survive.
‘It is a drag and it will slow things down a little bit,’ he said, ‘but it is not a mortal wound.”
Who is Chester E. Finn? He is the obvious Lefty who was a former Assistant Sec. of Education under Ronald Reagan and President of the “progressive” Thomas B. Fordham Foundation.
Someone please hold me back….
Where are the real voices on the left in NYS?
We aren’t hiding. Where is my voice as treasurer of Save Our Schools?
Where are teh voices of Change the Stakes?
Mark Naison and his Bad Ass Teachers?
The Progressive Bad Ass Teachers Association?
The Grassroots Education Movement?
Leonie Haimson and Class Size Matters?
Where are all the parents and teachers who are attacking this mess from the left?
There are countless examples of Critics from the left Mr. Baker did not include in this article.
Again I ask. Does the NYT know its left from its right?