More phony reform

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Regarding the story about Bill Gates and the Common Core standards (“Gates Rallies for New School Standard: Billionaire Asks Teachers to Stand by Common Core,” March 15):

The story says “the standards are not curricula.” Yes, they obviously are. Such standards will allow innovation? Comparing electrical outlets so that once standardized everyone can design appliances to fit? Correct! That is exactly what will happen.

Bill Gates is quoted as saying, “It’s just another case when I was naive … .” For sure. Notice how no one talks about No Child Left Behind because it failed completely. There is nothing new about this core resurrected from the 1950s and 1970s zombie education. Bill Gates did not attend public schools, and he “believes” that everyone can achieve these new/​old standards. The reality? They cannot and most teachers know that. Many will struggle and many will fail and never learn what was easy for him.

More important, they do not need to in order to be successful in their work and their lives. There is not a shortage of skilled people in the core areas, but there is a shortage of jobs for them. The schools do need to be not reformed but transformed, and this phony reform is just more of the same “academics” infection that dominates all of education, i.e., teachers teaching lessons with textbooks to students sitting at 19th-century writing desks memorizing facts.


The writer is a retired professor of education and multicultural studies, involved in teacher education for 40 years.

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