NY Times Mocks Opt-Out Parents, Fails Common Core English
Readers of my Huffington Post blog know I am very critical of the skills focus of the national Common Core standards for turning reading into a discombobulated and often meaningless chore for young people and a strong supporter of the high-stakes testing opt-out movement. But in this case, in this particular case, the Common Core reading standards provide a useful dissecting tool for understanding the motives behind charter school propaganda. And remember, I already know how to read pretty “good,” and I learned to read without Common Core. So let’s turn Common Core on its head.
According to the national Common Core reading standards, endorsed by the New York Times in a 2014 editorial, middle school students should be able to “[i]dentify aspects of a text that reveal an author’s point of view or purpose (e.g., loaded language, inclusion or avoidance of particular facts)” (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.6) and “[d]istinguish among fact, opinion, and reasoned judgment in a text” (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.8). Despite its support for Common Core, a recent New York Times editorial championing so-called educational reform shows that the paper and its staff definitely need remediation and probably should go back to middle school until they can master the new standards.
On May 10, 2016 another New York Times editorial, “Guess Who’s Taking Remedial Classes,” mocked middle-class suburban parents who oppose the Common Core high-stakes testing regime and support the opt-out movement. They cited a “a striking new study showing that nearly half of the students who begin their college careers taking remedial courses come from middle- and upper-income families.” Apparently, about one-fourth of the students who entered college in 2011 were required to take remedial courses in math, English or writing, and forty-five percent of the students in the remedial classes were from those “middle-, upper-middle- and high-income families.” According to the Times, the study was conducted by “a nonprofit think tank” called Education Reform Now. The study did not “indicate the specific places where these higher-income students grew up,” but the Times believes the “data suggest that many come from suburban communities whose schools did not prepare them for college-level work.” And these “wealthier districts” with failing students are, lo and behold, the very “strongholds of the movement against standardized testing and the Common Core learning standards.”
Maybe the New York Times should have checked the data itself before trusting the nonprofit Education Reform Now think tank. Education Reform Now (ERN) may technically be nonprofit, but it certainly is not anti-profit and its promoters and funders are neither educators nor education researchers. ERN has a five member Board of Directors. According to their website, “John Petry, Co-Chair, is the founder and managing principal at Sessa Capital. Previously he was a partner at Gotham Capital and Gotham Asset Management. John has been active in a variety of education reform causes. He was a co-founder of Democrats for Education Reform, served as a past Chairman of Education Reform Now, and currently serves as a co-chair at the Success Academies network of charter schools.”
Too be clear, Petry is a hedge fund entrepreneur, also known as a vulture capitalist, not an educator. For an excellent discussion of how hedge funds operate see John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight’s show on the Puerto Rico debt crisis. Petry is a promoter of Eva Moskowitz’s highly criticized charter school networks, not an NY Times Mocks Opt-Out Parents, Fails Common Core English: