At one point in time, many of us saw Common Core as the Trojan Horse sent to destroy public education. But buried deep within its belly is CBE — Competency-Based Education. It is outcome-based education reform by another name —in another form. Just the same, it stinks of decay and ruin. No, the stench is worse.
Read on as my guest, a parent, explains the problems with standards-based assessments and the fallacy behind the label “competency-based education.” The following Facebook comment was spurred by an article about standards-based grading.
In the real world, subjective assessment varies from person to person, group to group. Book and movie critics, for instance, vary widely as do reviews of plays and performances. Conversely, the correct answers to calculus and physics problems are the same regardless of the “assessor.”
For subjective subjects, a simple grading rubric for assignments used for the past 100 years or more allows the student to understand the keys to success for that assignment and to meet stated requirements. This is an important skill to master; in business one boss’s idea of success may not be consistent with another, and learning to flex your focus or style to please the assessor is a vital life skill.
The Standards-Based Grading article ignores this reality and instead hammers home the need for generic, uniform common core curriculum and regulated, dictated grading so as to strive for identical educational experiences.
Does this not take away the creative and unique ways individual educators can inspire and challenge and mold students according to their own God-given gifts for teaching?
Can we all not remember that special teacher in our schooling that changed us or “turned us on” to a topic that eventually brought us into a career path?
CBE (Competency-Based Education/Standards-Based) reduces the teacher to a sidelined coach, while the message is delivered by the standardized computer message or electronic text.
Since the days of Greek philosophers the concept of students being instructed and led through thought-provoking discussion to debate and challenge each other has been a successful model. Now suddenly, whether 100 or 2,800 years old this method is no longer valid? Because of iPads and Chromebooks? They are just tools, like wrenches or shovels or chisels or paint brushes; used to make a masterpiece.
The educational masterpiece itself is created by tapping the potential of students for creation of beautiful self-expression and thoughtful debate. Educators who groove on passing knowledge to students are crucial to the process. The educator/lecturer should never be just a sidelined coach that allows the computer to do the instruction.
God help us if we buy into this philosophy.
Further, God help us if we think rote memorization of fundamental math facts and spelling words are not needed and deny they are essential building blocks in the formative grades for advanced skill set proficiency in the latter grades. Writing an essay on a piece of literature requires actually being able to write (penmanship) and to create sentences with appropriate structure and grammar, and to be able to spell words as they flow from the mind quickly.
And, none of the dangers pediatricians are warning of today with regard to limiting device time because of negative impacts on neural network development are mentioned in the Standards-Based Grading article.
Parents: please read and educate yourselves on CBE. It is designed to make students “worker bees” that generation by generation are dumbed down, dependent on the Federal government and unable or unwilling to challenge the “Powers that Be.”
Let’s not forget Jefferson, Franklin and the Founding Fathers were able to gain independence from the England and halt imperial expansion with firepower yes, but overwhelmingly with the Power of the Pen.
Truly free people must have free thinkers, not cookie cutter worker bees that just want enough jingle for a pack of smokes and a Red Bull. The elitists would be happy to write-off most of our kids in this way …
Will you stand by and let them?
Or do you believe in the American dream as I do? That any child, from any home no matter how humble, no matter your skin color or your parental educational level or marital status …. ANY child can use the public education system to the fullest extent – extra credit if necessary – to be ANYTHING they want to be. And if they do, and if they make good choices, in three generations their entire family line can be pulled from poverty and be self-actualized. TRUTH: as long as we fight these ambitious, young, deceitful politicians that seek to suppress your child’s potential.
Are you going to let them do that to your child???? Your grandchildren? Our nation’s next generation?
Stay tuned folks, get informed, participate and show up to make your thoughts known. Let’s engage in thoughtful, respectful exchange of ideas, organize, and do something to CHANGE the overreach by the state and Federal government into our local education system. You can make a difference.
Thank you to writer, Alyssa Collins (pen name). “Alyssa” is a full-time working mom and a conservative. She isn’t taking the wrongful action of our government/corporate directives in our schools lying down.
“I’ll be organizing routine meetings at local restaurants in the near future to fight CBE, Competency Based Education.”
Please come spend some time in standards based classrooms, which in my years of experience are far different from those you fear above. I would do the same if I were to criticize another profession, veterinary work for example. For the record, I fear those classrooms you described, too. We lose so much when we give things titles, lump them into vast categories and forget to belief the best about each other.
All classrooms are going to be “different” from each other depending on the students, teachers, and principal…to date.
What I would recommend anyone defending standardization and privatization do is read at least the previous blog to this and follow the links to the government and private documents demonstrating the plan for data use.
Kelly, you seem to be taking this as an assault against your profession. The problem is as you say, a “title” or label has gone on a product – CBE. The consumer (the public taxpayer) can’t tell what they are buying.
We, the public, have no control. And “we” — not all but far too many — parents have no say in the education of their children. That is a long standing problem.
In my work as a veterinarian, I listen and take to heart what my clients tell me about my patients. My success with my cases (in most cases) depends on the clients. Do veterinarians get criticized? Absolutely, it’s part of the job. Is the client always wrong?….Absolutely not. Even when they are off base medically, there is some underlying truth, some insight that we have not considered. I never blow off a “critique.”
I see criticism as critical thinking…..thus my blog title “Consider This.”
CBE is morphing into the new trendy warm and fuzzy term –
Personalized Learning. Sounds great doesnt it? What parent doesnt want an “individualized learning program” for their child?
BEWARE there is a dark side to this new scheme brewed up by the ed reformers. There are some things parents should know.
Personalized learning will be the solution to the nightmare the state assessments cause, like stress and lost classroom learning hours. Parents will be cheering and excited about eliminating the state assessments –
Woo hoo no more opt outs needed they will chant.
The celebration will be shortlived when parents realize this move brings in something even more horrific – constant assessments. Students will be working through their classwork on electronic devices and will be subjected to non-stop assessing and remediation. Students will only be able to move forward until they achieve the goals set forth by the standards. Think of a flow chart in an endless loop until they meet the desired outcome dictated by the fed.
The focus from the reading, writing, and arithmetic is a thing of the past. The transformation in education has now moved into SEL social emotional realm. Soft skills like grit will be scored and data gathered is used to build personality inventories and psychological profiles of every student.
Imagine it years and years of personal data collected on your childs attitudes, behaviors, opinions and beliefs collected and available to prospective employers and hackers. What is the potential for this information to be abused and used against them?
I hear you. I hope others will also. What you are saying is clear to me.
Other readers might need a cheat sheet:
CBE – Competency Based Education
And for the comment below…
ESSA – The Every Student Succeeds Act
FERPA – Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
CCS – Common Core Standards
Well said. In order to end CBE we must first End ESSA and End the Federal Dept of Ed and Repeal and Restore FERPA protections … then and only then can we start addressing our state and local school Boards with our concerns in my opinion.
Warriors tried stopping CCS in their states and only accomplished renaming those standards. In order to get true local control we must tackle the Federal strings and mandates attached.
Children are being used as guinea pigs for the latest supposedly new fad in education and it must stop! Children are not human capital!
It is past time to quit using children for political purposes and truly educate not indoctrinate. Children should choose their own career path NOT the results of standardized or computer adaptive tests!
Teachers should be treated as professionals and be given back autonomy over their classrooms to TEACH skills needed to be a productive citizen. Their job is not to indoctrinate any political or religious views.
To return education to what it’s true purpose is we must FIRST return public education decisions back to the states and then from the states back to the local city or county.
To try and advocate locally to your city/county/state education leaders to end something is a waste of time and energy as these issues are being mandated from top down.
We warriors who have been in this fight since No Child Left Behind have learned the hard way that in order to kill the snake you must first cut its head off… don’t start with the tail.
Well said and I am in total agreement with you since I also am an old warrior in this fight since before No Child Left Behind.
Thank you for all your time and efforts. I hope – for the sake of the country – that we win the war…..kill the snake!
I personally keep looking at it as cutting out the heart of the beast but cutting off the head of a snake should is easier. 😉