Paucity of Education Research? Not so, Mr. Gates!

Head-Spinning Assertions

The Common Core State Standards, heralded by proponents as “universal, consistent, high quality standards that make students college and career ready,” are, instead, “really a business model designed to gather data and make profits for businesses,” says Morna McDermott, an administrator of United Opt Out and an associate professor education.

McDermott applauded the recent Washington Post story, How Bill Gates pulled off the swift Common Core revolution, saying it “exposes a lot of really good things.” She took exception, however, to one of the central premises:

Education lacks research and development, compared with other areas such as medicine and computer science. As a result, there is a paucity of information about methods of instruction that work.
— Lyndsey Layton (June 7 article) asserts, adopting Bill Gates’ statement as fact

“This made my head spin,” said McDermott, who taught in K-12 schools for ten years before entering higher education. She explains:

We have known for decades what effective teaching and learning look like. We have known for decades how to reach the most challenging learners….We know what works. We’re not willing to invest in it because it’s not profitable.

Editor’s note: See resources below

Backwards Standards

Asked if she opposed standards, McDermott responded that creating appropriate standards requires that we “bring back critical questions: What is the purpose of education and how do we get there?” She believes the current Common Core State Standards are “ethically problematic,” as they derive from a specific business-based model, e.g., what kind of employee does IBM need?

Melissa Tomlinson, a New Jersey K12 teacher and member of Badass Teachers Association, also believes the CCSS are backwards in many ways. “We’re looking at standards the wrong way around” and should instead be considering standards regarding basic resources:

At a minimum every student should have access to technology.
At a minimum every student access to textbooks.
At a minimum every teacher should have access to the professional devevelopment they need to support their classroom teaching.
This is what the students need, and how can we get that to them?

Listen to the full discussion here on Track 4, with additional comments from Morna McDermott and Melissa Tomlinson in Track 3:

Just a Few Resources


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