After reading How the Common Core Is Slowly Changing My Child, I couldn’t help feeling similarly. I don’t think Common Core is terrible; I think the implementation in New Mexico is inappropriate. A system created with the help of some professors and fewer K-12 teachers who didn’t consider the learning curve of English Language Learners can’t be considered completely adequate in a state that has roughly 20% ELL students. The Common Core is also being implemented too soon, with too many inconsistencies, and with too many eventual punitive measures to teachers if success isn’t met.
Now, on top of all the other testing from the district over each and every unit of study for common core, Skandera’s State Department has mandated that students take end-of-course testing K-12. What valuable information will be gained from students being tested in P.E. in Kindergarten? And how is it the PE teacher’s fault if students who are genetically not gifted athletically don’t do well?
The troubling thing about teaching right now is that at some point, we’re complicit in this perverse system. I realize we’ve signed contracts, we’ve made commitments, we have mortgages and bills, but as a friend of mine says, “Even the guards at Auschwitz thought they were just doing their job.“ The extremity of this comparison might not bear weight; yet, the sentiment rings true. Why are we just going along with everything?
I understand insubordination: willfully disobeying laws or superiors. Acts of insubordination might get you fired, and it’s this fear that keeps many of us doing exactly what’s asked of us, even as we roll our eyes and wonder which non-educator came up with the idea. Yet, there’s not been sufficient talk about the courage of creative insubordination: using best practices despite the trends and laws–the decisions many of us make individually to help our students in numerous ways everyday. Now might be the time to be collective in our courage.
Maybe as teachers, as educators, as parents, as community members, it’s time we started saying, “No.” We can stop. We can think. We can join together. If we’re brave and have courage and decide that creative insubordination can make a difference.
The first step here in Albuquerque happens on October 22, 2013 from 5-6 at Del Norte High School parking lot. There will be a march to protest the changes the State Department has implemented: more testing, more requirements to graduate (without allowing for grandfathering), and the continued use of test scores determining students’, teachers’ and schools’ worth through a flawed evaluation system.
Who’s with me?