We like to stay up to date on what schools in our area are up to as so many are branding themselves due to SBB and charters have always touted different programming. This one really bothered us though. The following is a letter from Golden View Classical Academy. This is most interesting because the rhetoric is often that charter schools do not use common core. This couldn’t be further from the truth even though people will argue with you incessantly online over this. “They don’t use common core, they use core knowledge.” After we take a breath, we always explain that the common core are standards and core knowledge is a common core aligned curriculum. ALL public schools, charters included, use curriculum aligned to common core. Data can be used to see which curriculums best fit students and that’s important data in decision making.
Just what is the evil common core? Standards – here are Colorado’s standards which include the common core in English and Math. Don’t like common core? Which standard is it that you don’t like? There are a lot of anti-cc talking points but none that have actually explained which standard isn’t good, how it’s bad for students, or what would be better. All Colorado students have been learning them since 2010 and we have more in higher level math than ever before, so how is that not good?
Here’s letter from Golden View:
Next to “STEM,” few mantras roll off the lips of educators and the interested public as easily as “college and career readiness.” All policy and curriculum must bow before this vaunted purpose if they are to be taken seriously in the world of K-12 education. But what does it mean to be ready for college and career? Oftentimes, it appears to mean little more than being “tech-savvy,” which supposedly justifies the use of cell phones in the classroom. At root, though, college and career readiness means two things. First, it means that many today think of students fundamentally as potential workers, as if their earning capacity were the sole reason and sole purpose of their twelve or thirteen years in school. Second, and conjointly, it means that the only civic purpose to education is to create what are affectionately called “global citizens.” Once students know that they are intended to work as citizens of the globe, not participate in their particular form of government as fathers, mothers, friends, thinkers, and tinkerers, then POOF!, they are college- and career-bound.
In the junior-level moral philosophy class this year, we have taken a different approach. To be ready for college and career, students must have at least a tentative answer to the question, “what is a good life?” Imagine what it is like to be 18 years old on a college campus. What pressures are there? What do people talk about? Who do they refuse to listen to? What are you expected to do with your down time? Will calling yourself a global citizen, whatever that might mean, or knowing how to use and program your cell phone or code in Python help you to answer these questions in the right way? Or, will you be left to answer the question, “what are you doing Friday?” with less firmness and more casual disregard? What will you study, and with what purpose or aim? Will the money you make come from a calling or meaningful career?
We have taken the approach that college and career readiness are good things, but they must be understood underneath and therefore subservient to the larger question of what it means to live a good life. This does not mean having a stock answer to ethical or political questions of the day, but an awareness of some of the key elements that will necessarily go into a good life, such as love, friendship, meaningful work, leisure, and thinking. It also requires an awareness of some of the competing answers the west has offered, so that one can choose from a point of strength rather than grasping at the most popular opinions that prevail on college campuses.
So does Golden View Classical Academy believe in college and career readiness? Yes, without a doubt and wholeheartedly, depending of course on what you mean…
Robert Garrow, Ph.D.
Golden View Classical Academy
Enrichment opportunities are very important for all students but let’s not knock the effort to prepare our students for their futures and sure they can have the basic needs – food, shelter, clothing. THAT is a real concern for many of our community members.
Now, let’s see what academic experts are trying to get out to parents about college and career readiness:
By 2020, 65% of all jobs will require some form of postsecondary education and/or training.
In 2015, only 46% of individuals aged 25-29 held an associate’s degree or higher.
So what does College and Career Readiness mean? It means that students leave high school prepared for success in a wide range of high-quality postsecondary opportunities. Now what does that mean. Post-secondary means “any education beyond high school”, for example, a college education or a vocational school. So specifically, college and career readiness refers to the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in “any education beyond high school” and/ or training that would lead to employment. Today’s workplace requires that all workers be lifelong learners in order to advance in their careers. So it is necessary that there be a common set of knowledge and skills that every student has to acquire so they can successfully transition into a postsecondary education or the workplace. All students should exit high school with a full understanding of the career opportunities available to them, the education that’s necessary, and a plan to attain their goals.
What do you want for your student?
Statements like these are a knock and a dig at the real needs of our neediest students:
- Oftentimes, it appears to mean little more than being “tech-savvy,” which supposedly justifies the use of cell phones in the classroom.
- Once students know that they are intended to work as citizens of the globe, not participate in their particular form of government as fathers, mothers, friends, thinkers, and tinkerers, then POOF!, they are college- and career-bound
- This does not mean having a stock answer to ethical or political questions of the day, but an awareness of some of the key elements that will necessarily go into a good life, such as love, friendship, meaningful work, leisure, and thinking. It also requires an awareness of some of the competing answers the west has offered, so that one can choose from a point of strength rather than grasping at the most popular opinions that prevail on college campuses.
Golden View is a charter school with 496 students enrolled. 80.8% white students, 9.9% Hispanic or Latino, and 8.5% “other” and a 95.7% attendance rate. What challenges do they have?
- 2.4% English Learners
- 5% Free or Reduced Lunch
- 4.4% Special Education
Pleasant View Elementary is very close (just closed due to funding); what challenges did they have?
294 students; 58.8% white, 25.9% Hispanic or Latino, and 14.3% “other” and a 94.4% attendance rate.
- 14.3% English Learners
- 75.5% Free and Reduced Lunch
- 19.4% Special Education
Those are two very different populations within miles of each other. The needs of different groups of students vary greatly, with EL, SPED, and FRL students being much more costly to educate as interventionists are required. Teach your population of students and enjoy whatever special programs you can provide for them and celebrate your accomplishments. Perhaps though, consider that the entire world does not look like the population of a school you choice in to, have the time and funds to drive to every day, twice a day, or that can fundraise hundreds of thousands of dollars with both a PTO and a Foundation.
While you receive $758,800 from voter approved mill levy funding, plus your PPF ($5,178,623) as well as charter building funds from the state, many of your officers told people NOT to support the mill and bond in 2016 that was so desperately needed for many neighborhood schools serving a much needier population. Pleasant View closed because of the mill and bond not passing.
Enjoy your population and community but there’s no need to dig at providing a future for the neediest children with supports that do allow them a path to a future and a path out of poverty. There isn’t an even playing field between Golden View and Pleasant View.
An escape out of poverty IS a good life. That’s college and career readiness, because happiness, love, and leisure don’t pay the bills or put food in the mouths of children.
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