Common Core blowback: not just normal resistance to change

How much of this Common Core concern is due to “normal” resistance to change?
People are not resistant to change when they are excited about it and it is clear what the change is and how to do it. The recent meeting at St Thomas (STA) did nothing to support any if these. In fact, I’m less motivated, I know less, and I have less idea what to expect. This is why there is resistance.

The Fog of Core

Before I went to this meeting, I thought I knew what common core was – at least enough to assume it was no big deal. I mean, we’ve always had standards, right? Common core is just an update to those standards, I figured. Turns out (at least it seemed to me) that Common Core is not just about updating the standards. It is about adding rigor, spending more time on fewer subjects, and preparing children for college and for the workforce. It also seems to require a fundamental change in the way teachers teach and how parents support their children’s education. It seems to me that there is little room for creativity, innovation, or adjusting to individual student ways of learning. If course, I could’ve wrong. Because when I ask about these concerns, the answers are confusing and contradictory.

How not to excite people about your cause

The speaker spent a fair amount of time berating the status quo as silly, stupid, and awful. He was standing in our school to which we choose to send our kids and to which we pay several thousand dollars a year for the privilege. Many parents went there themselves. This is an award winning school. Our kids go on to college at an impressive rate and do really well. But the speaker was telling us the status quo sucks and this should motivate us to make a change. Bad assumption and bad game plan in front of the home crowd.

So what are your intentions with our kid?

I did not and have not heard any information on what to expect. What changes are needed? Who is driving the changes? Who do I talk to if I have questions? What is the process for evaluating the changes, communicating the changes, and making the changes? The path is super unclear.

So, yes. There is something real about “normal” resistance to change. But people make huge changes all the time. We get married, we have kids, we change jobs. In fact, if people are afraid of change, then they wouldn’t be taking their kids out of Common Core schools – leaving friends and a comfortable routine.
It is not surprising that the Common Core transition at STA is starting to meet resistance. My investigation will start with feeling out whether the resistance is due to the very poor Change Management alone or whether there indeed is something wrong with how we are implementing Common Core. Or, I suppose whether there is a vast, bipartisan government conspiracy. Just in case, I’d better be sure and wear my tinfoil underwear.

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