We now believe that our children will only reach the highest levels of self-actualization if they are exposed to the wonders of these miraculous standards. You may be thinking "What the heck? Seriously? Am I being punked? Is it the end of the world as we know it?" but please hear us out....
1) We have on good authority that Common Core standards are so potent that they will counteract any and all of the negative affects that child poverty may have on learning. Your student didn't sleep last night because he/she was too hungry? Don't worry! Teach them to decompose a number and all will be well.
2) We now understand that the best way to teach a child grit and tenacity--character traits developed by CCSS--is by throwing them into the proverbial pool because they will teach themselves to swim! No typing courses required in the state of Tennessee? No problem. After countless hours of testing on computers, they will eventually train themselves to tearfully hunt and peck their way to a 3-sentence paragraph in kindergarten before they can even read! And they will have developed grit and tenacity. And all will be well... unless they score poorly on the test... because if they score basic or below, they'll sadly finish kindergarten designated one or two years behind grade level. So, the big question is: When will pre-k testing start to better quantify that all kids should learn at the same pace? Better yet, can you start testing them as toddlers? Surely there is a way to rate a toddler's grit and tenacity based on their tantrums.
3) Common Core is going to close the learning gap! Even though the standards were raised and the gap might be wider, inspirational rubrics will overcome closing grade level performance. But, not to worry... your failing scores will put you in the bottom 5% of performing schools and your school can be closed, leaving you all sorts of charter school choices (who all do the same scripted Common Core lessons, give lots of tests, and are staffed by cheap, unqualified, temporary teachers with no experience so it really doesn't matter which one you pick... or which one picks you, because the charter schools can legally kick out the kids they don't want and there is nothing you can do about it).
4) Your child is disabled? Learning English as a second language? Well, finally your child will be tested and be instructed just like all of their peers! No more accommodations for the weaklings! Sink or swim. Hey, it is a dog eat dog world. Kids that can't cut it will be called "factionless" and left to live outside the 4 pillars of our society (just like in the novel & movie, Divergent).
5) Please bring us even more CCSS! Please tell us you haven't forgotten Science and Social Studies! We need some new and harder ways to learn these subjects too. Because right now nobody cares about the untested subjects. Testing can return a focus on the entire educational experience (if tied to teacher evaluations, of course). Everything needs an aligned to a test! Be sure to include art, music, and physical education! Can you please figure out a way to test recess? We bet the government can even figure out some method to test how our kids eat lunch and then use their scores to fire cafeteria workers. Oh, and don't forget Sex Ed! Make it as graphic as possible, we don't even care how young the kids are when they learn it.
6) We want brand new untrained teachers to teach it. We know it is tough trying to squeeze that budget tighter each year and still pay the executive salaries & benefits for the administration at the top of the food chain. Get rid of all those hard-working, stay-in-the-profession-forever types. Who needs them? Bring us the Teach for America robot drones. Five weeks of training is more than enough to prepare new college grads without education degrees how to be the excellent teachers that children deserve. Never mind their classroom management is the pits. Kids will overcome with grit and tenacity. Those Teach for America drones are climbing their career ladders, bless their hearts, and we are happy to let our kids be stepping stones for them as they aspire to greatness as future charter school operators with unlimited salaries, or as well-paid administrators in the TN Department of Education or U.S.Department of Education making decisions for lots and lots of children because a mere 2 year stint as a classroom teacher magically qualifies them for that.
7) Please, give our kids the PARCC test AND the SBAC test. Yes, let's do BOTH of the new Common Core tests in our state! Arne Duncan will be so happy with us that he will wet his pants!!! We know we don't have the money for all this expensive testing, but do it anyway. It will be worth it. Also, force our school systems to buy lots of new Microsoft computers and software for these tests. We'll afford it somehow. You must force these national common standards on our offspring and future generations. Cram it down our throats with expensive advertising through TV commercials and radio ads paid for with our own tax dollars. Would it be too blatant to plan for a Superbowl commercial? You're right, maybe that is too over-the-top. Here's a money-maker idea, advertise to our kids in the tests! Put brand name products in the test questions, we don't mind if you market to our kids because they are future customers in the global economy. Our kids need to know what brand of shoes, beverages, or toys to beg us for.
8) Please spy on our kids through the Common Core tests, benchmark assessments, and surveys. Sneak them in while they are on the computer so parents won't know and it is a big, happy surprise to parents if they find out. Track how frustrated our kids get with questions that are obviously trick questions. Count how many clicks they make with the mouse before they give up. Use the laptop camera and video them to look at their facial expressions. Don't be sneaky about it, go ahead and just blatantly ask our kids personal questions about their lives. Heck, ask them personal questions about OUR lives. We parents just love to spit our milk out at the dinner table when our kids tell us how they were asked non-educational questions that day at school like: who lives with us, how many bedrooms our house has, if our child has a TV or computer in their bedroom, if our child is bullied because of their sexuality, if they have used cigarettes or drugs, if they drink alcohol, and so forth. No question is off-limits when you label it "data." And even though some Americans may say those questions are a violation of privacy or that it is "nunya beeswax," we know that it really means that the government loves us.
9) Be sure to keep track of our children's personal information in a giant database. Transfer and store it on "clouds" because clouds sound safe and happy (like that bonus land in Super Mario where Mario can't get killed, he just jumps around getting coins). Internet safety doesn't worry parents one bit. We don't mind that our bank accounts were hacked through Target and that nothing is ever truly secure on the internet. Hackers wouldn't want innocent kids social security numbers, would they? Why would future employers or colleges or marketing companies want our children's information, anyway? Well, we're positive the government and these corporations that have lucrative contracts with the government will keep our children's personal information safe because they love us and our kids. Besides, if there is a security breach, we'll never know. Ignorance is bliss. Share our kids information with whoever you want without parental consent. We Momma Bears have read the Race to the Top Application to the Federal Government, so we know companies contracted with government are already legally tracking our kids all the way from their "cradle to career." The FERPA law protects the government and those businesses and makes it all perfectly legal to do it without parents even knowing about it. So, go right ahead and stalk our kids. Parents won't think it is creepy. We know you love us.
Please make all of this as hard as possible on everyone. Keep pushing all of these awful reforms on our children despite the many parents and teachers who are freaking out and complaining...
...because if you do, the wheels will continue to come off.
And Momma Bears can continue to get electorate buy-in that TN Governor Haslam's education policies are rotten and based on greed. More immersion in our children's classrooms will convince more voters that Haslam and his appointed Commissioner of Education, Kevin Huffman, both need to go. More complaints from parents, teachers, and students will open more eyes, and we can get people to the voting booths in November to get the politicians who have voted against our children and our public schools out of office. It could be the best thing politicians & reformers have done for our state. Truly.