I am a curious person.
What I have been curious about for some time is whether or not what I am seeing anecdotally from many educators and parents around the state and the country in regards to Common Core are true here in the Enterprise City School System. I call it a Common Curiosity.
I suspect if it is true here any ECS employee would probably not feel comfortable or safe voicing their opinion publicly because you do want to keep your jobs. I get that. I know that Tommy Bice has bragged about schools showing teachers the door if they didn’t conform to the new teaching philosophy and methods “recommended” by the Alabama State School Board. So I understand your reluctance to talk openly or maybe even among yourselves because you are unsure of how others might feel about the subject.
I also understand that I am just a guy with a blog and there is no compulsion or reason for you to respond to my curiosity if you choose not to. I get that too.
However, since I am curious, I wanted to describe a few examples or anecdotes I have seen reported elsewhere and see if they are familiar and are happening here. I think too often we think, “(Insert scenario or issue here) is bad but I know it is not happening here. We are fine.”
I am curious. Are we really?
Teacher Resigns Over Common Core
This story is from April last year but that doesn’t make it any less illustrative of what many teachers are going through today. Colorado public school teacher Pauline Hawkins resigned from her position as a high school English teacher in protest to Common Core standards. You can see her full resignation letter on her blog here. A couple of quotes from that letter on her blog post stood out to me.
“We feel defeated and helpless: If we speak out, we are reprimanded for not being team players; if we do as we are told, we are supporting a broken system….
I cannot stand by and watch this happen to our precious children–our future. The irony is I cannot fight for their rights while I am working in the system.”
Here is a link to another blog that gives several more examples of teachers quitting with Common Core as the primary reason, Common Core, How Many Teachers and Parents Have to Leave. There are teachers from New York, Ohio, Florida and several other states. Are there teachers in Enterprise, Alabama who feel the same and have reached this point of frustration?
Some of My Thoughts
It seems odd to me when one of the big buzzwords in teaching now is “engagement” with the students yet conformity is what is required from the teachers by the administrators as indicated by the Pauline Hawkins quote above. Do as I say, not as I do seems to be the rule rather than the exception.
I may be old-fashioned…No…I am definitely old-fashioned but I would think a better environment for teachers and students would be one where administrators engaged with teachers and students conformed. After students learn to conform they can then learn to engage. I don’t think it works as well when those are reversed but that is just me.
Is input from teachers, the ones who know the students and know best how to reach and teach them, encouraged and welcomed or are you “reprimanded for not being team players” or worse when you suggest a different possibly better way to get the desired result?
Curriculum Concerns – Teachers and Parents
There was a recent story from Florida where a world history class was teaching the seven pillars of Islam but not Christianity in a World Religion class. The pages that would have covered Christianity had somehow been removed from the book.
I assume you have all seen some of the bizarre examples of what students are going through to solve simple math problems. If not just google “common core math problems” and you will have millions of examples. I just got 4.3 million. Is that methodology being used here in Enterprise? Does it make sense to anyone?
Is social engineering based on someone other than your own beliefs, principles and standards taking place in your child’s English and Math courses? Is History being omitted, added to, emphasized or de-emphasized in order to promote this same social agenda?
Are curriculum decisions really being made at the local level or somewhere above that?
These are some of the things I am curious about and look forward to hearing if anyone else has these same curiosities, concerns or examples from your experience as a parent or teacher. The only way I can gauge that is by your responses to this blog by either sharing it, responding to it, if you feel comfortable doing that, or letting me know your thoughts or thumbs up or thumbs down when you see me at Walmart, School Board Meetings, Church, etc.
If I do get feedback I will provide an update to this blog to let everyone know.
If you are not comfortable commenting here on the blog comments or on Facebook you can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your comments, examples or to tell me I am clueless and need to go jump in the lake. Feedback from you, the reader, is the only way I know if any of this makes sense to anyone other than me.
Any update I do publish will not mention any names or comments that would indicate where they originated without your consent. I will just give a generic update describing the responses I received and aggregate numbers.
I am curious now to see your response.
Until next time…
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