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Monday, May 20, 2019

Are SC Teachers Teaching Standards They Don't Approve Of?

Are SC Teachers Teaching Standards They Don't Approve Of? 

An article published in the Orlando Sentinel of Florida written by Leslie Postal dated April 19, 2019 entitled, “Keep Common Core School Standards, Many Teachers Tell State In Survey,” was very eye opening. Their Governor, Ron DeSantis ran on ending Common Core in Florida public schools, and in January signed an executive order to begin the process. He further ordered a their education department to design what their new standards should look like and conduct a survey asking for public to comment which can be viewed in 2010 Florida adopted Common Core Standards but turned around and adopted in line with Common Core standards in 2014 and re-branded them Florida Standards...much like SC who re branded their in line with Common Core Standards named South Carolina College/Career Ready Standards. 

The reporter of this article then went on to say that a “review of more than 3,300 comments submitted by early this month (April) showed many educators see value in the standards.” However, according to the article, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran issued this statement, “ We have long decried the endless issues associated with Common Core, and we are taking action to eliminate every last shred of it from Florida's academic standards.” Will Florida's new standards really be new...or will they still be in line with Common Core...that remains to be proven.

This article heightened my curiosity as to what SC teachers think about our present in line with Common Core standards especially when taking into consideration that SC teachers recently took a day off to protest in Columbia over various issues but did not include teachers complaining about our SC standards they are mandated to teach. Do SC teachers think the the SC College/Career standards are quality standards? Do they think the fact the standardized required tests SC children take which are based on Common Core are quality, reliable tests? Teacher performance is based on how well their students perform on these aligned to Common Core tests, so one would think they would have opinions on whether these standards truly are the best standards for SC children.

SC Superintendent Molly Spearman also campaigned on ending Common Core Standards when she ran in 2014 and the SC Legislators even passed legislation to end Common Core in our schools. However, the study by the Education Oversight Committee completed after the new standards named SC College/Career Ready Standards were developed they remained over 90% in line with Common Core according to the Education Oversight Committee.

In order to find out what teachers think about their standards they are teaching I took to social media on Facebook and posted in several Facebook groups of which SC teachers belong to post a survey which posed the question: “If you are a teacher in SC...are you satisfied with the present SC College/Career Ready Standards you are mandated to teach?” The poll started on May 10, 2019 and ended on May 17th and the results were:

Out of 557 responses: only 57 teachers are satisfied with the standards in place, while 500 teachers are not satisfied with those standards. So 89.8% of teachers don't even respect the standards they are forced to teach. That speaks volumes doesn't it?

According to the results of this survey, it is clear the majority of SC teachers surveyed are not satisfied with the present standards they are forced to teach.

Are legislators aware of this? Do they care? Is SC Superintendent Molly Spearman aware of teachers' dissatisfaction of the standards they are teaching which are over 90% in line with failed Common Core? Does she care? How about the SC State School Board appointed members? Do they know and do they care? How about your local school board members? Are they aware? Do they care? Is your child's school Principal aware of this? Do they care? Don't you think they should be made aware. Please share this article with your SC legislator, Molly Spearman, and your local School Board Members. Ask them if they care. Ask them what they plan on doing about teachers being dissatisfied with the standards they are mandated to teach.

When building a house you want a strong, quality foundation or else your house will not be strong.

In education the standards are the foundation of the curriculum and the foundation of the standardized tests given to judge the child's proficiency. Since teachers are professionals at what they teach, shouldn't their thoughts be considered as to whether or not the standards they teach are quality standards? After all, aren't teachers judged by whether or not the child learned what they were supposed to learn? If the standards are faulty, won't the teaching be faulty...won't the testing results be faulty? The foundation of education is quality standards. 89.9% of SC teachers surveyed aren't satisfied with the standards they are forced to teach. Does anyone care?

Why should we be paying teachers more to teach faulty standards they don't even value? Shouldn't our State Superintendent Molly Spearman, our appointed SC State School Board, and our Education Oversight Committee be thinking about WHY the present SC College/Career Ready Standards are not respected by our teachers?

The faulty standards are the elephant in the room that no one seems to be addressing. Even the SC for Ed teachers who marched on Columbia didn't mention the standards in their grievances. Why is that?

One theory I have as a retired teacher is that teachers know there are consequences in complaining to the educrats in power about the standards they have chosen. After all, it took PARENTS standing up against Common Core to then Gov. Nikki Haley and legislators to pass legislation to kill Common Core, only to find the State Department of Education simply re-branded those standards College/Career Ready. If teachers question the authority or wisdom of administrators and educrats on standards they won't get chosen as Teacher of the Year. If teachers “buck the system”, they won't be chosen to move up into administrative positions, and they also know principals can find other ways to punish teachers who fail to go along to get along. I saw it when I taught. Teachers who fail to go along with the system's mandates get all the bad behavior kids the next year, or they get changed to a grade level they don't want to teach. There are many ways teacher's get bullied into submission. Just ask a teacher in private, they'll tell you how the system works.

SC children deserve better standards in place. Standards that have been proven effective. Isn't it time SC takes a look at PROVENstandards that ensure student achievement? Paying teachers more, giving them a lunch break, or lowering class load won't solve what ails public education in SC.

In the state of Massachusetts BEFORECommon Core standards were implemented, their students were the first to finish #1 in all four categories of the NAEP ( National Assessment of Educational Progress), and not only that, they repeated that feat every year through 2013. But once Common Core Standards were put in place, Massachusetts backslid and no longer leads the ratings. A study by the Pioneer Institute shows the data results proving Massachusetts failed to maintain their #1 status after Common Core Standards were required. That study can be viewed here:

Maybe SC needs to look at Massachusetts' Standards they had in place before the Common Core Era. 

Maybe if SC looked at adopting quality standards which drive the curriculum and testing we would see quality reform and teachers would be happier with their jobs and students would be better educated. 

Submitted by Johnnelle Raines

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