Posts Tagged 'Common Core State Standards'

The Rest of the Common Core Story

The Rest of the Common Core Story
by Dr. Randall Lund

There is so much focus on the Common Core standards and their enforcement through tightly correlated performance tests (SAGE tests in Utah) that people may not realize that Common Core is also linked to standards for preservice teaching training and standards for the evaluation of inservice teachers. So there are standards for students (Common Core), standards for teachers, and standards for the teacher training colleges, and they are all aligned.

In other words, the backers of Common Core are now able to force colleges to teach their view of education. If colleges do not adopt the Common-Core-aligned teacher education standards and prove through an onerous data collection system that their program is compliant, their accreditation can be withdrawn. If accreditation is withdrawn from a college, their graduates may not be licensed by the states.

It used to be the case that colleges could choose which accrediting agency they wanted to work with—the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) or the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). These agencies differed in their approaches and requirements. It should be no surprise that at about the same time Common Core was being developed and implemented, the two accrediting agencies merged into one national agency, the Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (CAEP). Their web page is http://caepnet.org .

CAEP rolled out their teacher training standards in August, 2013. See them at http://caepnet.org/standards/standards/. These standards include the following requirement:

“1.4  Providers ensure that completers demonstrate skills and commitment that afford all P-12 students access to rigorous college- and career-ready standards (e.g., Next Generation Science Standards, National Career Readiness Certificate, Common Core State Standards) . . . ” (CAEP, p. 4)

Not only are teachers to be informed about Common Core, they are to be trained to teach to those standards:

“These experiences integrate applications of theory from pedagogical courses or modules in P-12 or community settings and are aligned with the school-based curriculum (e.g., Next Generation Science Standards, college- and career-ready standards, Common Core State Standards).” (CAEP, p. 8)

Another link in the Common Core chain of control are the standards for the teachers’ own education at the colleges. These standards are known as InTASC Model Core Teaching Standards. These standards are used to evaluate both preservice teachers (in college) and inservice teachers working in the schools. Teachers who fail to comply can be denied licensure (at graduation) or (if already teaching) disciplined or terminated. The CAEP, InTASC, and Common Core standards are all aligned:

“The Commission’s development of this standard and its components was influenced especially by the InTASC Model Core Teaching Standards, the Common Core State Standards Initiative  . . .”   (CAEP, p. 6)

Now more about the InTASC standards for teachers. They can be found at  http://www.ccsso.org/Resources/Programs/Interstate_Teacher_Assessment_Consortium_(InTASC).html .

They are promulgated by the same people who developed Common Core: The Consortium of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). These are the people who own the copyright on the Utah reprinting of Common Core under the title Utah Core. The InTASC standards for teacher evaluation are explicitly linked with Common Core:

“Specifically, this document has been reviewed to ensure compatibility with the recently-released Common Core State Standards for students in mathematics and English language arts . . .” (InTASC, p. 6)

An especially pernicious aspect of the CAEP and InTASC commitment to Common Core is that every standard for teachers includes the aspect of critical dispositions, in addition to performance skills and knowledge. In other words, preservice and inservice teachers not only have to act as required by Common Core, they are expected to show that they believe in Common Core as demonstrated by observable attitudes and values. A typical disposition requirement states:

“The teacher realizes that content knowledge is not a fixed body of facts but is complex, culturally situated, and ever evolving.” (InTASC, p. 24)

Other typical disposition words are value, realize, is committed, understands. Now, there are many positive dispositions a teacher should have. The problem with the InTASC dispositions is they incorporate also attitudes related to Common Core. In other words, teacher educators, if so inclined, now have permission to require that teaching candidates prove that their indoctrination to Common Core has been successful:

“The [college teacher education] provider ensures that . . . candidates develop the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions necessary [emphasis added] . . . ” (CAEP, p. 6)

In summary, the Common Core backers now have in place all the mechanisms needed to transform education: the standards for students, the tests of student learning, and, as I have explained here, the standards for training new teachers and evaluating current teachers, as well as standards for the college schools of education. It is true that Common Core is the lynchpin of the whole apparatus, but it will not be enough to get Common Core out of schools if the next generation of teachers is committed through their college training to the Common Core approach to education.