Kaye’s Summer Newsletter 2014




Are these budding “reflective practitioners?” Are they going to become meaning makers? Could this picture be a metaphor showing the challenges inherent to making sure our curriculum adapts to the needs of a changing world, where our economy has become global and technological advances continue to change at a rapid pace? Curriculum is a journey, a quest for life-long learning, a process that will reinvent how the next generation’s inquiring minds will discover knowledge that can be used in their world. Perhaps curriculum will encompass a pedagogy that is open-ended and flexible, utilizing technologically advanced tools in order to view the changing world through the eyes and experiences of the next generation. Change is inevitable and the possibilities are endless!


 

Editorial Comment. . .

 

North Carolina should have the highest education standards in the world. We can do and we must do better than Common Core. The Common Core educational standards were adopted by the North Carolina State Board of Education in 2010. Four years later, few answers to the many questions from parents and educators have been answered. And just recently, the North Carolina legislature voted to remove the Common Core standards from North Carolina’s public schools and to draft new academic standards for North Carolina.

 

A brief history:

 

The 1983 report, A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform, brought awareness to the state of secondary schools and students in America. The report was intended to create avenues for academic success for students in the U.S. However, what it did was create an overload of high-stakes standardized testing and strict accountability measures without fully digesting and researching what was realistically needed as additional skill sets for college success such as creativity, critical thinking, self-efficacy, and self-regulation. Thus, history shows us the poor results of additional testing.

 

The NCLB (No Child Left Behind) Act of 2001 was created to close the achievement gap between various diverse groups of students by providing accountability, flexibility and choice. NCLB put enormous pressure on all public schools in America to be accountable for all children to meet minimum testing standards set by each state. There was no incentive to create higher standards for those who were motivated to achieve at higher levels. In effect, it created a dumbing down of the curriculum and thus student learning for many suffered. Schools concentrated only on the pass/fail rates on the standardized state and local tests. Results showed: high student dropout rates, flat admission test scores, stable but wide achievement gap, large numbers of students poorly prepared for college, and 50% of students enrolled in developmental education or remediation classes in college.

 

Common Core, just like many standards that came before, has not been well thought out. North Carolina can do better. Why?

  1. Local control of education is a bedrock of our nation.
  2. A one-size-fits-all set of standards for all of education in America is un-American.
  3. Common Core does not prepare our students for STEM education or careers.

 

Why would we settle for anything less than the best standards for North Carolina? The Common Core standards still have not been tried, tested, or rewritten for success four years after adoption in North Carolina. Why would we roll out Common Core to every school and for every student in our state, all at once, without proper vetting and testing?

 

These are just a few reasons why Common Core should be replaced in North Carolina with the best standards in the world – North Carolina Standards.

 


 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT. . .

“The overall unemployment rate for recent college graduates is at 7.9 percent, and nearly half of all employed recent graduates have jobs that don’t require a college degree” (Carter, C. J. 9-2013, read full article here >).

 

In May, 2014, a study of more than 30,000 college graduates in the U.S., published by Gallup and Purdue University, created an index that examines the long-term success of (college) graduates. This index focuses on workplace engagement and includes the five identified elements of well-being: (1) financial well-being, (2) physical well-being, (3) social well-being, (4) purpose, and (5) community. Gallup research also shows that only 30% of Americans are engaged in their jobs. When this happens, the workplace suffers and economic benefits plunge (Gallup-Perdue Index-2014. Great Jobs; Great Lives. Retrieved from pdf file GallupPurdueIndex Report 2014 050514 mh LR pdf 118MB, 1-23).

 

When employers hire (2 or 4-year) college graduates, what skill sets are they looking for? What skill sets do college graduates feel they acquired in their college to help them transition successfully to the workforce? Are postsecondary institutions providing these skill sets?

 


 

FEEDBACK . . .

Your feedback on Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools on any issue, as well as any education issue in North Carolina, is welcome. Please let me hear from you. How’s it going as you and your family prepares for the 2014-2015 school year? I am currently serving as a member of the North Carolina Public School Policy Forum, a think tank of business, government, and education leaders, as well as continuing my doctoral journey at Northeastern University since January 2013.

 

God bless!

Kaye McGarry

 
Kaye, her husband, and their grandchildren
Kaye, her husband, and their grandchildren

 

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