Yikes – What does this mean?
There seems to be some kind of common thread in the discussions about the Common Core. It was so exciting to see that Nancie Atwell received one million dollars of recognition and prize money for her work in teaching and learning at a recent event held in Dubai. This brings great credibility and recognition to her work as a teacher and educator, and it’s good for the state of Maine. Congratulations are due.
Yet in the comments she made to CNN and reflected in the web article written and published by Nick Morpus which I found at News360 ([ http://news360.com/article/283553396# ]Nobel Prize Winning Teacher), there were some disconcerting comments attributed to Nancie.
She is quoted as saying,
“Honestly, right now I encourage them (new teachers) to look in the private sector. Because public school teachers are so constrained right now by the Common Core standards and the tests developed for children to monitor what teachers are doing with them.
It’s a movement that has turned teachers into technicians, not reflective practitioners and if you are a creative, smart, young person this is not the time to go into teaching [in public school]. An independent school would suit you.”
What does all of this mean? Here we have a teacher from Maine, a state which has adopted the Common Core, claiming that the Common Core has made the art of teaching into little more than technical work. Here we have a teacher from Maine who has been celebrated on the international stage who feels that the accepted practices and regulations for the state would not enable another public school teacher to stand in her shoes at another time.
The real question is – “What if she is right?” If Nancie Atwell is right, and she does have some support now to make that claim, then the rest of us are in a quandary. What should we be doing about all that time and all that money spent on testing as she claims it is all for nothing? Have we been wasting time and taxpayer money pursuing that which can’t be pursued?
Would that time and would that money have been better spent in better preparing teachers?
I have been pursuing those issues in this blog for some time now. I believe in reasonable assessment practices, and I particularly believe in the power of portfolios. I worry that the Common Core and the associated tests are another tsunami of assessments fads that will pass.
If Nancie Atwell is correct, someone needs to answer a few questions.