Friday, March 7, 2014

Let's do some critical thinking

Let's do some critical thinking
Sent to the Denver Post, March 7.

The Douglas County school superintendent says that students should not just "compare and contrast" but "create and evaluate" and engage in critical thinking ("Educators to state: Let's go above common core," March 6).


Let's start by evaluating whether we should have common core standards and tests at all.

How many policy makers are aware of these facts?
(1) US students do very well on international tests when we control for poverty: There is no crisis.
(2) 23% of our children live in poverty.
(3) Poverty means lack of good food, lack of health care and little or no access to books. All of these have a devastating impact on school performance.

Now let's do some critical thinking and evaluate this proposal: We can protect children from the effects of poverty with improved food programs, more school nurses and investing in libraries for a fraction of what we are about to spend on the common core, especially online testing. This will improve school achievement as well as the quality of life for millions of students.

Stephen Krashen

Original article:


Control for poverty: Payne, K. and Biddle, B. 1999. Poor school funding, child poverty, and mathematics achievement. Educational Researcher 28 (6): 4-13; Bracey, G. 2009. The Bracey Report on the Condition of Public Education. Boulder and Tempe: Education and the Public Interest Center & Education Policy Research Unit. Berliner, D. 2011. The Context for Interpreting PISA Results in the USA: Negativism, Chauvinism, Misunderstanding, and the Potential to Distort the Educational Systems of Nations. In Pereyra, M., Kottoff, H-G., & Cowan, R. (Eds.). PISA under examination: Changing knowledge, changing tests, and changing schools. Amsterdam: Sense Publishers. Tienken, C. 2010. Common core state standards: I wonder? Kappa Delta Phi Record 47 (1): 14-17. Carnoy, M and Rothstein, R. 2013, What Do International Tests Really Show Us about U.S. Student Performance. Washington DC: Economic Policy Institute. 2012.

Level of poverty: UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre (2012), ‘Measuring Child Poverty: New league tables of child poverty in the world’s rich countries’, Innocenti Report Card 10, UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, Florence.

Poverty means ...:  Berliner, D. 2009. Poverty and Potential:  Out-of-School Factors and School Success.  Boulder and Tempe: Education and the Public Interest Center & Education Policy Research Unit.;   Krashen, S. 1997. Bridging inequity with books. Educational Leadership  55(4): 18-22.

Cost of the common core:  Krashen, S. and Ohanian, S. 2011. High Tech Testing on the Way: a 21st Century Boondoggle?

No comments:

Post a Comment