On Sunday, April 26, I attended a talk in Epping about the Common Core. Dr. Pesta, a professor of English, was riveting – especially his argument that groups from both sides of the political spectrum have issues with the Common Core initiative. It’s an investment of time to listen to the discussion, but it brings up many points that should have broader discussion, not least among them are the disturbing homework questions he presents. Are these really a fair indication of Common Core assignments and what might be in the Smarter Balance tests? Why do so many people fear that education is becoming social engineering?
For me, some of the more alarming information that Dr. Pesta presented included the number of days students are involved in testing, the highly conceptualized math instruction in elementary grades, and the emphasis on peer instruction. Yes, I knew all this was part of current pedagogy and assessment, but the extent that this has been taken to in some parts of the country makes me wonder what is happening in our schools, too. Timberlane parents should also keep in mind that in addition to the battery of Smarter Balance testing, our children are also doing Star Assessment testing along with all the regular course work testing.
Hudson School District has a Common Core FAQ page on their very well designed district website that explains the initiative from the educational establishment perspective. http://www.sau81.org/district/page/smarter-balanced-frequently-asked-questions
The video of Dr. Pesta’s talk comes from the Facebook page, Education Matters, with thanks.(www.facebook.com/pages/Education-Matters/1400274826896776)
Ann Marie Banfield begins at 6:20.
Dr. Duke Pesta begins at 38:42.
I bring this talk to my readers’ attention not by way of endorsement but only for information with the intention of stimulating inquiry and debate.
Full disclosure: Dr. Pesta created his own home schooling program which he promotes with brochures at his public appearances.