By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – In my post last week I attempted to take you inside the Common Core classroom, to pull back the curtain and show the complete and utter loss of autonomy and creativity teachers have experienced under this program to the point that teachers are not even allowed to use their own words; we work from scripts, prepared slides, and prepared teacher notes.

From my post last week:

In this way, theory goes, every child across the district gets the same lesson on the same day in the same way.  There are no “rock star” teachers who have an unfair advantage over less capable teachers.  The playing field is leveled, and this helps measure how effective these lessons are in meeting the criteria for standardized testing.

There are many problems with this approach to teaching, only one of which is that every student is taught in the exact same way.  All that training we received on diversified learning styles was apparently hogwash.

Another problem is that some teachers are afraid to speak out for fear of recriminations, so we don’t really know how bad this really is.  Some of us just close our door and teach the way we know students learn.  We use our own words and our own activities developed with specific student needs in mind.  Then when the test scores come back, and they are wonderful, it looks like Common Core is working.

Let’s restate that: teachers are silently rebelling against this boring drivel and teaching as they were trained, and they can’t speak out for fear of getting in trouble.

Other teachers are just leaving the profession.  The nationwide teacher shortage is epic.

Consider this teacher from Georgia; explaining why she left the classroom she writes:

You start talking to teachers, trying to figure out where their fire for education has gone – why they appear as robots, or automatons, simply going through the motions. What has happened? You dig deeper and learn of prescribed and scripted curriculum; teachers are expected to be at the same point in the same lesson every day. For transient students that idea seems based in reason, but the practice has been detrimental to teachers.

You learn of the pressure felt by both teachers and students to perform well on standardized tests. You learn of the autonomy stolen from teachers to make any decision beyond a seating chart in their room. You learn of the complete lack of empowerment (and active process of disempowerment) of the teachers and then learn this is a widespread issue. Teachers across the country are begging for a shift away from this robotic sort of teaching.

Some are leaving the field. I did, and, while I ultimately found myself working toward my doctorate, I knew the k-12 space was no longer an option as I refuse to leave my brain on the sidelines and act as a robot. Feeling disempowered was a nonnegotiable for me and for many educators.

It’s all about the test.

When did it quit being about the students?

Michael Deshotels at Louisiana Educator writes:

Remember the term academic freedom? This is an almost forgotten concept in today’s world of test teaching and scripted learning. But academic freedom has allowed the American education system to foster creativity in both teachers and students for many years before this recent trend of standardized education. It was an education system that has made the U.S. the world leader in scientific achievement, literature, and art. It is not a good idea to abandon academic freedom in hopes of small increases in standardized test score.

As a veteran educator it hurts me to see this happening to students.  I don’t teach English: I teach kids, and I care deeply about my students.  To see their eyes glaze over when the slides come up and the informational texts come out, when the script is read, is so disheartening.  So yes, I’m that teacher that goes off script. But I’m also speaking out.  Tentatively and yes, with some fear.  I love my job and don’t want to lose it.

At this point I can only hope that this fad goes the way of all of the others that I’ve seen in my twenty-three years.  These programs hang around for five years or so and then we reinvent the wheel and do something else.  I hope I can survive this one.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport. She is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25.

Donald Trump is about to enter into completely unknown and unexpected waters this week.

Unknown because we really haven’t seen this kind of an initiative by a US president on the Korean Peninsula since, well ever.

Unexpected because even if you were one of the few people who three years ago concluded that the figure going down that escalator in NY would be President at this time, I very much doubt that you, in your wildest dreams saw him meeting the leader of North Korea at a summit.

The fact that the president has arranged this is an amazing thing but the really amazing thing is he is in a completely no lose situation.

If worst comes to worse then we are faced with confronting a dictatorial mass murdering madman with nuclear capability that hate us….which is exactly what we’ve been doing for the last 20 years anyways.

If 2nd worst comes to worse, then any deal made is reneged by the Norks which is to be expected anyways as mass murdering communist dictators don’t have a real good record in the honesty department.

I am a supporter of Donald Trump but I’m not so much of a supporter that I’m blind to the fact that both the worst and 2nd worst are real legit possible results but even if they come Trump will be able to say:  “We gave it a shot and it didn’t work out so now we know where we stand”

However it is also possible that progress is made on peace, on trade, on disarmament etc.  Even a small amount of progress would be an astounding thing and an epic change from the status quo.

It’s even possible that a major breakthrough could take place, but again we are in completely uncharted waters here so such a result shouldn’t be expected.

I admit I have no idea what is going to happen and no matter what anyone tell you it’s likely nobody else does either, but there is one prediction that I can make that I’m felling pretty secure of.

No matter what the result the Never Trump Di Niro left will dub it a failure and fault the President for trusting the communist dictator, if so it will be the only time anyone on the left has decided that trusting communists is a bad thing in my lifetime.