VP Barras is a veteran teacher at Lafayette High School.
In the movie Network, Peter Finch said a line that has now become immortal: “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.”
Frankly, that’s me right now, and here’s why.
On March 27th, the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce listed its priorities for the legislative session, and among them is its support for Common Core.
I then thought, “Oh great. Another organization is trumpeting its support for Common Core.”
If I were to write a manual telling doctors how to operate, people would laugh and doctors would rightfully ignore me. I have not attended medical school nor received the training a doctor needs.
Yet organization after organization with little or no educational background thinks they are experts on education. The Council for a Better Louisiana, Stand for Children Louisiana, and the Louisiana Association for Business and Industry, just to name a few, have all published their support for Common Core.
Apparently, merely having attended school or college—or simply having a child—affords everyone a seat at the table to determine the future of education. Worse, everyone listens to these organizations and not the teachers themselves.
I am a highly-qualified teacher with two Bachelor’s degrees and a Masters in History. I was chosen the Outstanding Sophomore, Junior, and Senior in UL’s College of Education, not to mention the Outstanding Graduate of its 1992 Spring Commencement. I have experience writing curricula and have taught Algebra I and II for twenty-three years, as well as numerous history and English classes. I am an expert on education, not these various groups.
To every organization that announces their support of Common Core, I have a right to explore your qualifications and biases. Have you received money from Bill Gates or any of his organizations? Are you teachers who have implemented the Engage New York curricula that was designed to match Common Core? Have you actually read the poorly-written modules we teachers have received or taken one of their confusing tests? Are you experts in the cognitive abilities of young children and adolescents? I suspect the answers to these questions are a resounding NO.
And I have upsetting news for these organizations who don’t even bother to explore what is in Common Core: the people who wrote it weren’t experts either. The twenty-seven authors were mostly test-makers, and none were teachers. Why should I give their handiwork any credibility when they lack the credentials to even be classroom teachers?
So, should any new organization wish to herald the need for Common Core, I have these words of advice: unless you’re qualified to speak on the subject, mind your own business. Otherwise, I will accord your opinion the weight it deserves: little.