Bill Gates and Gates Foundation were one of the main backers of the Common core education program. The US education system had been bad before Bill Gates, George HW Bush and Obama and No child left behind and Common Core. However, the last 17 years have been continued failure in improving education in the USA.
The Gates Foundation has spent $3.4 billion on public education in the United States. They spent a lot on the development and implementation of the highly controversial Common Core State Standards – Gates now says that 60 percent of his new investment will go to public schools and about 15 percent to the development of charter schools.
The Common Core standards were sold as a way to improve achievement and reduce the gaps between rich and poor, and black and white. But the promises haven’t come true. Even in states with strong common standards and tests, racial achievement gaps persist. The development of the Common Core was funded almost entirely by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2001, George W. Bush administration had passed the No Child Left Behind act. This promoted standardized testing, school choice, competition and accountability (meaning punishment of teachers and schools) as the primary means of improving education.
In 2009 President Obama announced Race to the Top, a competition for $4.35 billion in federal grant money. To qualify, states had to adopt “college and career ready standards,” a requirement that was used to pressure them into adopting national standards. Almost every state applied, even before the specifics of the Common Core were released in June 2010.
Bill Gates observes –
OECD data that shows lagging performance of American students overall, the national averages mask a bigger story.
When disaggregated by race, we see two Americas. One where white students perform along the lines of the best in the world—with achievement comparable to countries like Finland and Korea. And another America, where Black and Latino students perform comparably to the students in the lowest performing OECD countries, such as Chile and Greece.
I have had children in school where they were taught Common Core for several years.
My observations are:
1. Common Core uses multiple methods to teach basic math and english. They reteach multiplication and division. They add an emphasis on the concept of grouping. I know basic math very well. I can understand what they are trying to do but find that it merely complicates and confuses the learning of basic math. Getting kids bogged down in what are garbage approaches means there is less time for moving on to more advanced topics.
I knew Common Core was garbage from the first times I had to look and help with my kids homework. It does not help the smart kids and helps very few of the kids who do not get an understanding via the first “regular” approaches to learning those subjects.
2. For more well off parents, getting to Finland and Korea level academic achievement is only possible by either supplementing public school with extra private programs like Russian Math or sending kids to better private schools. Either that or achievement is made in spite of poor public school.
Finland put more resources and focus on improving the capabilities of teachers. All Finish Teachers have masters degrees. Teachers are viewed as scientists and the classrooms are their laboratories. Every teacher has to have a masters degree, and it’s a content degree where they’re not just taking silly courses on education theory and history. They’re taking content courses that enable them to bring a higher level of intellectual preparation into the classroom.
1. John Dewey’s philosophy of education forms a foundation for academic, research-based teacher education in Finland and influenced also the work of the most influential Finnish scholar professor Matti Koskenniemi in the 1940s. All primary school teachers read and explore Dewey’s and Koskenniemi’s ideas as part of their courses leading to the master’s degree. Many Finnish schools have adopted Dewey’s view of education for democracy by enhancing students’ access to decision-making regarding their own lives and studying in school.
2. Cooperative Learning
Unlike in most other countries, cooperative learning has become a pedagogical approach that is widely practiced throughout Finnish education system.
3. Multiple Intelligences
he overall goal of schooling in Finland was to support child’s holistic development and growth by focusing on different aspects of talent and intelligence. After abolishing all streaming and tracking of students in the mid-1980s, both education policies and school practices adopted the principle that all children have different kinds of intelligences and that schools must find ways how to cultivate these different individual aspects in balanced ways. Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences became a leading idea in transferring these policy principles to school practice. Again, the 1994 National Curriculum emphasizes that school education must provide all students with opportunities to develop all aspects of their minds. As a consequence, that curriculum framework required that all schools have a balanced program, blending academic subjects with art, music, crafts, and physical education. This framework moreover mandated that all schools provide students with sufficient time for their self-directive activities.
4. Alternative Classroom Assessments
Without frequent standardized and census-based testing, the Finnish education system relies on local monitoring and teacher-made student assessments.
5. Peer coaching—that is, a confidential process through which teachers work together to reflect on current practices, expand, improve, and learn new skills, exchange ideas, conduct classroom research and solve problems together in school—became normal practice in school improvement programs and professional development in Finland since the mid-1990s.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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