‘Storm of reform’ — principal details damage done

Mar 11, 2013 by

tidal waveBy Carol Burris –

My recent blog post, which was critical of the Common Core, surprised some of my friends and critics. I still hold the ideal of the Common Core—to prepare all students for college and career—as my goal as a principal.  But I have concluded that the standards, as they are being implemented, are potentially harmful to students.  The best way that I can explain my trepidation is with the following analogy.


Hurricane Sandy hit the shores of New York and New Jersey at high tide when there was a full moon, a time when tides were 20% higher. It was a Category One hurricane of no great fury—its winds were “only” about 74 miles per hour.  However, Sandy became a super storm due to a Canadian cold front, which wrapped around the hurricane, making the storm larger and more ferocious.

Think of the Common Core standards as the high tide—the tide intended to lift all boats. Testing is the hurricane—a strong storm that blows through each year and affects our every action as educators.  Now add the cold front, the ever-increasing high stakes, wrapping around the tests. Those high stakes—school closings, grade level retentions, and the evaluation of teachers by student scores—have given the hurricane additional fury and strength.  High tide, which in and of itself is benign, now becomes a destructive force.

‘Storm of reform’ — principal details damage done.

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