Opinion
Education Letter to the Editor

‘Common Core’ Leaders: Contempt for Teachers?

October 26, 2009 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

The so-called Common Core national academic standards project has now released the names of about 85 people involved in this work as authors, “feedback” providers, and, most recently, “validators” (“New Standards Draft Offers More Details,” Sept. 30, 2009).

Many of the authors are employees of ACT Inc. and the College Board, two entities that primarily produce tests. Others work for Achieve Inc., a corporate entity created by Louis V. Gerstner Jr. to promote testing. Most of the rest of the people listed are academics, with university faculty appointments.

Of the more than 80 people named, there is one classroom teacher: Vern Williams, a math teacher at Longfellow Middle School in the Fairfax County, Va., public school system. Mr. Williams is a feedback provider.

What Gene Wilhoit, the executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, and his fellow Common Core leaders at the National Governors Association—and their biggest fan and supporter, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan—display is a monumental contempt for the women and men who actually teach children and adolescents in our nation. They mouth the language of respect for teachers, but their actions reveal their true feelings.

The epistemological claim of Mr. Wilhoit and others is that the “experts” who have little or no phenomenological knowledge and wisdom about young people today are the ones who know best about what these young people should learn.

As an academic myself, I agree that scholars have a great deal to contribute to this endeavor. But as an academic who has never lost touch with teachers and classrooms and schools, I know that teachers possess a great deal of knowledge about their students, about learning, and about curriculum and standards that can only be known through the day-to-day experience of teaching.

I’d bet that many of the professors who have agreed to serve on this project as “feedbackers” and “validators” know this as well as I do. It’s a shame that they have chosen to collaborate with people such as Mr. Wilhoit, rather than insisting on the inclusion of significant numbers of classroom teachers in every phase of this project.

David Marshak

Bellingham, Wash.

A version of this article appeared in the October 28, 2009 edition of Education Week as ‘Common Core’ Leaders: Contempt for Teachers?

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Start Strong With Solid SEL Implementation: Success Strategies for the New School Year
Join Satchel Pulse to learn why implementing a solid SEL program at the beginning of the year will deliver maximum impact to your students.
Content provided by Satchel Pulse
Teaching Live Online Discussion Seat at the Table: How Can We Help Students Feel Connected to School?
Get strategies for your struggles with student engagement. Bring questions for our expert panel. Help students recover the joy of learning.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Science Webinar
Real-World Problem Solving: How Invention Education Drives Student Learning
Hear from student inventors and K-12 teachers about how invention education enhances learning, opens minds, and preps students for the future.
Content provided by The Lemelson Foundation

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: June 8, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: June 1, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: May 11, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: April 27, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read