Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Have They Read the Standards?

The anti-Common Core sentiment is rampant.  I just wonder if these people have read the standards.  What do they think Common Core is? 

Common Core does not tell teachers what to teach.  
It offers some exemplar texts that demonstrate the expected complexity of text, but it does not require these texts.   

Common Core does not tell teachers how to teach.
 Teachers are free to select strategies and materials to meet the performance demands of the standards.  

Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts specify the performances that students must be capable of performing at the end of each grade level.

Who wouldn’t want their students to be able to “determine a theme or central idea of a text”?  It doesn’t matter which text you select … the point is that students develop the skill of reading carefully enough to figure out what the central idea is in a text.

Who wouldn’t want their students to be able to “assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text”, or “evaluate the argument and specific claims in  a text, assessing whether  the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient to support the claims?”

Who wouldn’t want their students to be able to “conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation”?

Who wouldn’t want their students to be able to “evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used”?

Standards provide the framework for the understanding, knowledge, and skills that students need.  When teachers use these standards as a starting point, they can design effective instruction using materials of their choosing to facilitate student learning.

Teachers also must take care not to leave out important instructional components that may be assumed by the standards.  Some basic skills may not be listed as a standard, but that does not mean that the skill is unnecessary; some skills lay a foundation on which additional skills build.  Unpacking each standard allows teachers to see where they must add these components.

There are likely some well-meaning administrators who have specified particular curriculum materials and methodologies to be used within their schools, but those choices are not specified by Common Core.  Don’t confuse a school’s choices for implementation of standards with the standards themselves.

I, for one, want students to develop skills to understand and evaluate the rhetoric they see, hear, and read.  Whether advertising, political persuasion, news media, social media, literature, or their friends, students need these skills in order to make informed decisions.

Perhaps, Common Core dissenters lack these skills.

No comments:

Post a Comment