Thursday, July 31, 2014

Common Core is for the common folk*

If you spend much time following the education reform debate, particularly on the counter-reformation side, you soon notice that a lot of fairly major stories get a lot of play on the state and local level but are largely ignored on the national level, at least by publications like the New York Times.

One of the recurring themes in these stories is the idea of education reform for all but the elite, which, given the make-up of the movement, often comes down to reformers exempting themselves from their own reforms.

From Nashville Public Radio

Lipscomb Academy Chief Advocates For Common Core, But Not At Her School
On an almost weekly basis, Candice McQueen is called on by the state Department of Education to beat back criticism. Last week, it was an Associated Press panel. The week before that, she advocated for Common Core as SCORE released its annual report card. McQueen testified before the Senate Education Committee during a two day hearing on the standards.

She praises the rigor and the benefits to having Tennessee kids on the same page as students in 44 states. So when McQueen assumed a new role over Lipscomb’s private K-12 academy, parents were concerned Common Core would follow her to campus, according to an open letter sent to families.

“Because of my role as the dean of the university’s College of Education some of you have expressed concerns about my appointment and the direction Lipscomb Academy will take as it relates to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).”

McQueen wrote that she Common Core has not been adopted and that she has “not been in any formal discussions” about changing standards at the school, though she has asked faculty to familiarize themselves with the math and English standards.

And McQueen doesn’t plan to stop advocating for Common Core, according to the letter.

“I will continue to be part of the ongoing CCSS conversation. However, this should not be extrapolated to indicate or predict the adoption of CCSS at Lipscomb Academy.”
Lipscomb would be unusual if it went to Common Core. Most of Nashville’s private schools blend state and national standards and don’t use the same standardized tests as public schools.
Lipscomb is, particularly for Nashville, a rather expensive and exclusive academy. Here's how much it costs to attend:
Tuition rates for the 2014-15 school year will be $5,000 for the 3 day-per-week Pre-kindergarten, $8,350 for the 5 day-per-week Pre-kindergarten.  In addition to the new tuition rates, Lipscomb Academy Pre-kindergarten students will receive a $1,000 discount off their kindergarten year tuition.  Elementary school tuition will be $10,440 while middle and high school tuition is set at $11,540. Multi-child discounts continue at $400 for the second child, $500 for the third and $600 for the fourth. 
To put that in context, here are some numbers from Wikipedia:
The median income for a household in the city was $46,141, and the median income for a family was $56,377. Males with a year-round, full-time job had a median income of $41,017 versus $36,292 for females. The per capita income for the city was $27,372. About 13.9% of families and 18.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.5% of those under age 18 and 9.9% of those age 65 or over.

* I see that Diane Ravitch beat to the punch on this joke by a big margin.

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