Opposition to Common Core education policies is creating strange political bedfellows. Now, even the Chicago Teachers Union is joining conservatives in opposition to the top-down education standards.
On its blog, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) published a new resolution announcing that it had joined the opposition to the “deeply flawed Common Core standards.”
“Now that the resolution has passed,” the union said in its statement, “the CTU will lobby the Illinois Board of Education to eliminate the use of the Common Core for teaching and assessment; and be it further and will work to organize other members and affiliates to increase opposition to the law that increases the expansion of nationwide controls over educational issues.”
Unlike conservatives whose opposition is based on a desire to maintain local control of education policy, many teachers unions stand against both the testing requirements and the plans to use the standards to evaluate teachers. However, unions also say that teachers lose their autonomy in the classroom because of the standards. On the latter, conservatives fully agree.
Nevertheless, CTU President Karen Lewis noted in her statement that Common Core is classic government overreach.
“I agree with educators and parents from across the country, the Common Core mandate represents an overreach of federal power into personal privacy as well as into state educational autonomy,” Lewis said. “Common Core eliminates creativity in the classroom and impedes collaboration. We also know that high-stakes standardized testing is designed to rank and sort our children and it contributes significantly to racial discrimination and the achievement gap among students in America’s schools.”
Along with the announcement of the agreement, the CTU website also contains the detailed resolution that Chicago’s teachers passed to oppose the standards.
In explanation of its reasoning, one of the union’s provisions says:
Common Core State Standards were developed by non-practitioners, such as test and curriculum publishers, as well as education reform foundations, such as the Gates and Broad Foundations, and as a result the CCSS better reflect the interests and priorities of corporate education reformers than the best interests and priorities of teachers and students.
The union additionally says, “Common Core State Standards were piloted incorrectly, have been implemented too quickly, and as a result have produced numerous developmentally inappropriate expectations that do not reflect the learning needs of many students.”
The CTU also said it feels that the standards “adversely impacts” students of highest need, such as minority students, poor students, and those with learning disabilities.
The union goes on to charge that the testing standards are rife with “political manipulation” and will be used to close schools and fire teachers.
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