Los Angeles Times editors get it – Philanthropies don’t have all the answers about education
The Los Angeles Times just ran a very good article concerning the failure of a number of education programs that have received massive funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The title says a lot:
“Editorial | Gates Foundation failures show philanthropists shouldn’t be setting America’s public school agenda”
This is a solidly thought out article that is worth consideration. In fact, there is only one area of this editorial that I would question. That section talks about the Common Core State Standards, saying:
“When the standards are implemented well, which isn’t easy, they ought to develop better reading, writing and thinking skills.”
The Times makes some big assumptions with this, ignoring a growing trend of data from Kentucky that says the practical potential of Common Core remains largely unproved, at best.
There are several problems with the Times’ assumption that Common Core will work better.
First, no research really shows that massive implementation of the Common Core State Standards really will improve reading, writing and thinking skills. The standards simply have not been previously implemented in large, state-sized education organizations before. Common Core remains an experiment.
Common Core also includes math standards. The Times is curiously silent about whether those math standards are of any value what-so-ever.
Certainly, Kentucky, which has by far the most experience with Common Core of any state, provides at best a cautionary tale about the possible potential of these new standards. Especially for the state’s various special student groups such as racial minorities and students with learning disabilities, this blog and The Hechinger Report – to name just two very recent sources – make it clear that Kentucky’s academic performance is faltering, at best, under the new standards (see for example: here, here and here for just a very few of the most recent articles in this area. Search this blog with terms like “EXPLORE,” “PLAN,” “NAEP,” “KPREP” and “Effective High School Graduation Rate” to find a lot more disturbing information)..
Second, implementing Common Core might not just be difficult – it might not actually be possible or at least Los Angeles Times editors get it – Philanthropies don’t have all the answers about education | Bluegrass Institute | June 3, 2016: