Yong Zhao, author and education professor, is asked to predict the education landscape after 5 years of Common Core:
Question: What will be different five years from now if the current plans go forward?
Yong Zhao: It’s always dangerous to predict the future. But if history is any indication, judging from the accomplishment of NCLB and Race-to-the Top, I would say that five years from now, American education will still be said to be broken and obsolete. We will find out that the Common Core Standards, after billions of dollars, millions of hours of teacher time, and numerous PD sessions, alignment task forces, is not the cure to American’s education ill. Worse yet, we will likely have most of nation’s schools teaching to the common tests aligned with the Common Core. As a result, we will see a further narrowing of the curriculum and educational experiences. Whatever innovative teaching that has not been completely lost in the schools may finally be gone. And then we will have a nation of students, teachers, and schools who are compliant with the Common Core Standards, but we may not have much else left.
He then goes on to argue that minorities do poorly because they need more government support, that tests aren’t accurate evaluators (really, what does it mean to be “good” at something?), and that students really should write about what they feeeeeeeeeel instead of what they think. In short, he’s a touchy-feely progressive who has all sorts of loopy ideas.
But hey. He’s right about the Common Core standards.
One of my great surprises of the past year or so is the emergence of progressives as, dare I say, realists on achievement, in contrast to the eduformers’ edging ever-nearer to a role as totalitarian dreamers.