The ‘seven deadly sins’ of Common Core — by an English teacher

Reblogged from The Washington Post’s Answer Sheet by Valerie Strauss

For years now, the Common Core State Standards have been at the center of a national controversy over public education. Supporters say the standards, being used in most states, will improve public education, raising the standards that had formerly been used in most states. Critics say otherwise; earlier this year, for example, more than 100 education researchers in California collectively issued a research brief saying that there is no “compelling” evidence that the Common Core State Standards will improve the quality of education for children or close the achievement gap. (They also labeled new Common Core standardized tests as lacking “validity, reliability and fairness.”)

Here is a new detailed look at the standards from a teacher in Georgia who once supported the Core but no longer does. She is D’Lee Pollock-Moore, an English teacher and English department chair at Warren County High School. In this post, a version of what appeared on her Musings from Master P blog, she details what she thinks are the “worst of the worst” of the English Language Arts standards.  Pollock-Moore gave me permission to publish her piece. (Pollock-Moore bolded certain words in the piece.)

By D’Lee Pollock-Moore

Here in jargon-free, acronym-free terms, is my list of what I consider to be the worst of the worst — or the seven deadly sins — of the Common Core English Language Arts standards.

  1. The Common Core English Standards are too ambiguous.

Before Common Core, many state English standards were specific.

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High school teacher: I’m banning laptops in class — and not just because they are distracting

Reblogged from the Washington Post by Valerie Strauss

Every since computers began to enter classrooms and policy makers made wiring schools a top education priority, technology boosters have talked about the many ways that education and student life could be improved. E-textbooks could be unlimited in scope and easily updated, research could be conducted online, collaboration could extend around the world, and note-taking could be much easier in class.

Some of that’s true, but increasingly teachers at all levels of education are pulling away from the idea that allowing students to have laptops and tablets in class is a good idea. Why? Here’s a piece that answers that question, by Giles Scott, an English high school teacher for seven years at an independent school for the arts and sciences who is teaching in the upcoming school year at a private school in northern California. Scott explains why he has decided not to allow his students bring in laptops and tablets anymore.

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Is ‘Fun’ an Ideal Teaching Goal?

Reblogged from Education Week by Kyle Redford

I get frustrated when teachers are encouraged to make school “fun”. Go ahead and debate me, but I think “fun” is a term better used for the playground than the classroom. Teachers who promise to make school fun are like parents who want to be friends with their children. Sure, I am all for fun (and friends), but in the appropriate context. Learning can and should be engaging, exciting, compelling, stimulating, satisfying, inspiring, imaginative and even pleasurable. But fun? A teacher’s main job is to help students become more competent, confident and curious. Fun rarely delivers on those goals. Words matter. The word “fun” can trivialize the serious work related to learning and confuse teaching with entertaining.

Just to be clear, I want my students to enjoy school as much as any other teacher and I do not believe that teachers should try to convert every moment into a measurable learning opportunity. I believe in the importance of play during the school day. Likewise, being creative, passionate and enthusiastic about our teaching certainly helps to make it more effective. But the word fun aptly describes recess, end-of-day dance parties, Jeopordy quizzes, field games, and holiday celebrations — things that punctuate and support learning, but do not define it.

Let’s admit it, learning is sometimes uncomfortable. That is okay.

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The Manufactured Shortage: Driving Teachers Out of the Classroom


Those in charge of public schools and politicians are hypocrites when it comes to the rhetoric surrounding a teacher shortage!

School districts around the country are describing hundreds of classrooms they can’t seem to fill with qualified teachers. This has been a manipulated ploy to get rid of veteran teachers and employ alternative, revolving door unqualified teachers who will settle for smaller salaries.

For example, in Orlando they are crying that they are short 300 teachers. It is a similar story in the rest of the state. Yet, Orlando signed on to Teach for America in 2015, instead of trying to address the problem of teacher retention.

The State of Florida began courting TFA in 2010. They were not alone, following the lead of the U.S. Department of Education which chipped in with a competitive $50 million grant. This was part of a larger piece of the privatization pie.

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Join a Protest Near You

Reblogged from

Across Michigan on Wednesday, Aug. 3, MEA and AFT Michigan members will gather together in their communities to protest Gov. Rick Snyder’s frivolous appeal of a court ruling that school employees are owed 3% of their salary that the state illegally stole from paychecks.


Find a protest site near you, and sign up to join in! We need a big turnout to send a loud message!

Snyder’s decision to appeal is just another example of the wrong priorities that Snyder and his allies have about public education.  School employees are fed up with Snyder’s constant disrespect and attacks on educators and public education.  It’s time to gather together and make our voices heard and to advocate for the public schools that Michigan students deserve.

Sign up to attend a protest in a city of your choice.

Find a location near you:

Detroit – Cadillac Place (outside Snyder’s Detroit office – 3044 W Grand Blvd) – 12 noon – 2:00 p.m.

Southfield – Southfield High School (24675 Lahser Rd) – 10:30 a.m.-Noon.

Lansing – Adado Riverfront Park/Lansing Community College (300 N Grand Ave) – 2-5 p.m.

Grand Rapids –  Corner of 28th Street and the East Beltline – 4-6 p.m.

Kalamazoo – MEA Kalamazoo Office (4341 South Westnedge, Ste 1210) – 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Flint – Genesee Valley Mall (Linden Rd entrance, 3341 Linden Rd) – 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Mt. Pleasant – Central Michigan University campus (corner of Mission and Bellows) – 2-5 p.m.

Traverse City – MEA Traverse City Office (1745 Barlow) – 12 noon – 1:00 p.m.

Marquette –  Marquette Post Office (corner of Washington and 3rd) – 10:00 a.m. – 12 noon

Escanaba – Delta County Court House (310 Ludington St) – Noon-1 p.m. (Eastern time).

Sign up today to attend a protest next Wednesday, Aug. 3. Follow MEA’s updates on Facebookand Twitter.

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