Manatee County school district plan not focused on students

June 19, 2013 

Responding to schools Superintendent Rick Mills goals outline in Sunday's Herald, where are the students?

It is difficult to see them in "bringing focus, alignment and ultimately accountability ... leveraging technology ... turbo charging outcomes ..." I am sure these "sound good" goals play well with corporate management and the military, but I'm not sure if they translate well into the classroom.

Children, after all, are not ears of corn to be grown, harvested and shipped to market. Or even troops to be trained, equipped and deployed to the front.

Your "data teams" will mean pulling teachers out of classrooms doing the job of teaching to become number crunchers that they neither are trained for or in all probability have the aptitude for.

Superintendent Mills, please address: how differentiation of instruction, students' engagement, parent involvement, and the transition to Common Core fit into your plan.

On another topic, has anyone asked why Florida is even moving to Common Core Standards? The double speak that Common Core is "not to be confused with curriculum or instruction" merely masks that it is more than a curriculum or instruction. There is teacher evaluation, massive and intrusive student/family data (to be kept online), and it promotes a uniform approach to education even though there is no one clear cohesive theoretical framework ("best approach") agreed upon by educational researchers. An approach that may in fact be from a political/sociological world view that many may find objectionable.

So when teachers are asked to implement standards that they feel "do not make sense," will they be viewed as ignorant and requiring of professional development or termination? How do you handle parents and the community? Dismiss their concerns because the educational system knows best?

Perhaps we are guilty of putting the cart before the horse by the adoption of a curriculum that hasn't even been finished yet.

Cynthia Campbell


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