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Paul Giorgio: What Is at the Core of the Common Core Dispute?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

 

If we want to be on the cutting edge of education, we must change with the times, believes Paul Giorgio.

Well the right wing, Activate Worcester, Tea Party kooks are at it again. This time the fight is over the new testing and curriculum being instituted across the country. Common Core will take the place of the MCAS in Massachusetts.

The local fight is being led by former School Committee member Donna Colorio. Colorio served a single term on the School Committee and was defeated last November, when the voters of Worcester realized she was affiliated with the Tea Party.

There is a growing cadre of people who are anti-science, anti- medicine and anti- change. Whether we are talking about climate change or the history of mankind or the immunization of children against preventable childhood diseases, there is an element in our society and community who are against it all. They see all of this this all as an intrusion on their lives.

I even heard one gentleman call a local talk radio show, decrying “Government schools." I don’t even know what that means.

The Worcester School Committee has been debating Common Core for a few weeks now, ever since Worcester was chosen as a test site for the new test.

The right wing argument

The Educational Association of Worcester—the Worcester teacher's union—also had a vote of no confidence in the tests implementation, according to reports in the local media. Of course the teacher’s unions also opposed the MCAS, when they were first proposed.

The primary argument used before the Worcester School Committee this past month was that “Parents wanted to retain control over their children's education and that they did not want their students being used as “lab rats," according to one parent by taking a test to determine the assessment’s legitimacy and accuracy."

I don’t get it. Do they think that the child will be damaged by taking the test?

First of all, parents have never had direct control over their children’s education unless they were home schooled. If you had “direct” parental control, you could end up with a different set of standards and curriculum for each school. Education has always been in the purview of the government. That is why we have laws that mandate children must attend school until they are sixteen.

Changing with the times

If we want to be on the cutting edge, we must change with the times. We must always improve what we are doing and how we are doing it. This applies to education as well as science and math and engineering

What Common Core does is create a unified approach to education. This Common Core was developed by educators and parents and the Governors of our states. Those Governors were both Republicans and Democrats and Liberals and Conservatives. This is not a top down but a bottom up approach to creating a common set of standards. It also replaces one of the last relics of George W. Bush’s Presidency and that is No Child Left Behind. The sad fact was that plenty of children were left behind.

According to School Committee member and GoLocal contributor John Monfredo:

“It is interesting to note that 90% of the math and English Language Arts Common Core Standards come from the Massachusetts Frameworks.”

The goal of Common Core is to prepare America’s students for jobs in the 21st century workforce. Jobs that are so very different from when I was in high school and then college.

The right wing, who don’t want their children used as” lab rats” are quite content to use them as pawns in what they perceive as a political fight over ideology.

 

Paul Giorgio is a longtime Democratic Party Activist who has worked on numerous campaigns. He was a Lead Advance Person for President Clinton & Vice President Gore. He was Deputy Director of Special Events for President Clinton’s first Inauguration. He has been elected a delegate to numerous Democratic National Conventions and recently served as one of President Obama’s representatives on the Platform Committee. In 2013 he was chosen as a Presidential Elector. He is the President of Pagio, Inc., publishers of Pulse Magazine, Vitality Magazine and Worcester Medicine.
 

 

Related Slideshow: Central Mass Schools with the Highest Graduation Rates

Glossary

Non-grad completers: Students that have successfully completed school according to local requirements, but whose MCAS test scores (scores lower than 220) prevent them from receiving an official diploma.

Students in cohort: Number of students eligible to graduate in 2013.

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41. Webster

Graduation rate: 69.7%

Dropout rate: 14.8%

Percent still in school: 7.7%

Percent non-grad completers: 0%

Number of students in cohort: 142

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40. Southbridge

Graduation rate: 70.6%

Dropout rate: 16.8%

Percent still in school: 4.2%

Percent non-grad completers: 0%

Number of students in cohort: 119

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39. Fitchburg (Tie)

Graduation rate: 71.6%

Dropout rate: 14%

Percent still in school: 9.6%

Percent non-grad completers: 1.8%

Number of students in cohort: 450

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38. Gardner (Tie)

Graduation rate: 71.6%

Dropout rate: 10.6%

Percent still in school: 14.9%

Percent non-grad completers: 1%

Number of students in cohort: 208

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37. Ralph C. Mahar

Graduation rate: 72.4%

Dropout rate: 13.2%

Percent still in school: 8.6%

Percent non-grad completers: 0%

Number of students in cohort: 174

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36. Worcester

Graduation rate: 73.4%

Dropout rate: 11%

Percent still in school: 11.3%

Percent non-grad completers: 1.3%

Number of students in cohort: 1,885

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35. Athol-Royalston

Graduation rate: 77%

Dropout rate: 12%

Percent still in school: 5%

Percent non-grad completers: 0%

Number of students in cohort: 100

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34. Oxford

Graduation rate: 78.5%

Dropout rate: 10.4%

Percent still in school: 7.6%

Percent non-grad completers: 1.4%

Number of students in cohort: 144

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33. Quaboag

Graduation rate: 78.8%

Dropout rate: 9.6%

Percent still in school: 7.7%

Percent non-grad completers: 0%

Number of students in cohort: 104

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32. Northbridge

Graduation rate: 83.8%

Dropout rate: 5.6%

Percent still in school: 5%

Percent non-grad completers: 0.6%

Number of students in cohort: 179

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31. Berlin-Boylston

Graduation rate: 84.1%

Dropout rate: 7.9%

Percent still in school: 6.3%

Percent non-grad completers: 0%

Number of students in cohort: 63

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30. Winchendon

Graduation rate: 84.5%

Dropout rate: 7.2%

Percent still in school: 6.2%

Percent non-grad completers: 1%

Number of students in cohort: 97

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29. North Brookfield

Graduation rate: 84.6%

Dropout rate: 5.1%

Percent still in school: 2.6%

Percent non-grad completers: 0%

Number of students in cohort: 39

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28. Leicester

Graduation rate: 85%

Dropout rate: 5.3%

Percent still in school: 5.3%

Percent non-grad completers: 0%

Number of students in cohort: 133

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27. Douglas

Graduation rate: 85.1%

Dropout rate: 8.9%

Percent still in school: 3%

Percent non-grad completers: 0%

Number of students in cohort: 101

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26. Milford

Graduation rate: 86.5%

Dropout rate: 6.4%

Percent still in school: 5%

Percent non-grad completers: 0.4%

Number of students in cohort: 281

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25. Spencer-East Brookfield

Graduation rate: 87%

Dropout rate: 1.9%

Percent still in school: 5.6%

Percent non-grad completers: 0%

Number of students in cohort: 108

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24. Uxbridge

Graduation rate: 87.8%

Dropout rate: 4.9%

Percent still in school: 4.1%

Percent non-grad completers: 0%

Number of students in cohort: 123

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23. Clinton

Graduation rate: 88.5%

Dropout rate: 2.2%

Percent still in school: 2.9%

Percent non-grad completers: 1.4%

Number of students in cohort: 139

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22. Hudson

Graduation rate: 88.6%

Dropout rate: 5.9%

Percent still in school: 4.1%

Percent non-grad completers: 0%

Number of students in cohort: 220

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21. Quabbin

Graduation rate: 88.7%

Dropout rate: 3.3%

Percent still in school: 5.7%

Percent non-grad completers: 0%

Number of students in cohort: 212

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20. West Boylston

Graduation rate: 89.1%

Dropout rate: 3.1%

Percent still in school: 4.7%

Percent non-grad completers: 0%

Number of students in cohort: 64

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19. Bellingham

Graduation rate: 89.6%

Dropout rate: 4.0%

Percent still in school: 2.9%

Percent non-grad completers: 1.7%

Number of students in cohort: 173

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18. Millbury

Graduation rate: 89.7%

Dropout rate: 4.3%

Percent still in school: 3.4%

Percent non-grad completers: 0%

Number of students in cohort: 116

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17. Leominster

Graduation rate: 89.9%

Dropout rate: 3.8%

Percent still in school: 3.8%

Percent non-grad completers: 1.7%

Number of students in cohort: 477

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16. Blackstone-Millville

Graduation rate: 90.6%

Dropout rate: 5.4%

Percent still in school: 1.3%

Percent non-grad completers: 1.3%

Number of students in cohort: 149

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15. Wachusett

Graduation rate: 91.6%

Dropout rate: 2.5%

Percent still in school: 3.6%

Percent non-grad completers: 0%

Number of students in cohort: 526

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14. Narragansett

Graduation rate: 91.9%

Dropout rate: 4.1%

Percent still in school: 2.4%

Percent non-grad completers: 0.8%

Number of students in cohort: 123

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13. Auburn

Graduation rate: 92.3%

Dropout rate: 4.1%

Percent still in school: 2.6%

Percent non-grad completers: 0%

Number of students in cohort: 196

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12. Grafton

Graduation rate: 92.4%

Dropout rate: 1.8%

Percent still in school: 3.5%

Percent non-grad completers: 0%

Number of students in cohort: 170

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11. Shrewsbury

Graduation rate: 92.8%

Dropout rate: 2.3%

Percent still in school: 2.1%

Percent non-grad completers: 0%

Number of students in cohort: 432

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10. Tantasqua

Graduation rate: 93.1%

Dropout rate: 1.7%

Percent still in school: 3.4%

Percent non-grad completers: 0.3%

Number of students in cohort: 291

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9. Dudley-Charlton

Graduation rate: 93.6%

Dropout rate: 3%

Percent still in school: 2.6%

Percent non-grad completers: 0%

Number of students in cohort: 265

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8. Ashburnham-Westminster

Graduation rate: 93.9%

Dropout rate: 2.4%

Percent still in school: 3%

Percent non-grad completers: 0%

Number of students in cohort: 165

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7. Lunenburg

Graduation rate: 94.5%

Dropout rate: 0.8%

Percent still in school: 2.3%

Percent non-grad completers: 0%

Number of students in cohort: 128

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6. Nashoba

Graduation rate: 94.7%

Dropout rate: 1.2%

Percent still in school: 2.4%

Percent non-grad completers: 0%

Number of students in cohort: 247

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5. Mendon-Upton

Graduation rate: 95.2%

Dropout rate: 0.5%

Percent still in school: 3.2%

Percent non-grad completers: 0%

Number of students in cohort: 189

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4. Hopedale

Graduation rate: 95.5%

Dropout rate: 1.1%

Percent still in school: 2.2%

Percent non-grad completers: 0%

Number of students in cohort: 89

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3. Westborough

Graduation rate: 96.2%

Dropout rate: 0.8%

Percent still in school: 1.9%

Percent non-grad completers: 0.8%

Number of students in cohort: 265

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2. Northborough-Southborough

Graduation rate: 97.3%

Dropout rate: 0.3%

Percent still in school: 2.2%

Percent non-grad completers: 0.3%

Number of students in cohort: 364

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1. Harvard

Graduation rate: 97.4%

Dropout rate: 0.9%

Percent still in school: 1.7%

Percent non-grad completers: 0%

Number of students in cohort: 117

 
 

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