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06 May 2013 @ 05:14 pm
Smart, smarter, smartest  
I love this NYC teacher's take on the question, WILL COMMON CORE MAKE OUR KIDS SMARTER? http://dianeravitch.net/2013/05/03/will-common-core-make-kids-smarter/


Why do we allow others to say our kids are not as smart as they could be as if we were discussing widgets. I keep coming back to a couple of things here. First, I wonder how many of the architects of the new and improved educational plans (and include NCLB, RttT, CCSS all here) are graduates of our schools? Seems to me that they are, and that they are pretty smart (okay, to be correct, fairly smart. I do not grammatical constructs but I elect to speak like a real person on the blog). I run into grads of my classes often, and they are smart folks, too. Many are in leadership positions. So, apparently things in the status quo are working, right?


How is CCSS going to make kids smarter? How can setting goals or standards that ignore child development make ANYONE smarter? Does close reading make someone a better reader? Wen was the last time you were asked to complete the tasks we have seen offered by the "experts?" Every time I read a new posting about the BEST new way to teach close reading or the best way to assess reading levels, I feel as though I am losing my mind, not getting smarter. Is just giving something we already do a new tag make it a smarter thing to do?


Of course, we will see who is the smartest after the tests are taken. And judging from the items from one test that were leaked to the press, I am NOT the smartest person in the fifth grade. CCSS and PARRC have posted some power points and preliminary items on their web site and asked for input. But do read the small print, please. The suite indicates that revisions will be made if research suggests they need to revise. I wonder what research will suffice? Anecdotal? Probably not? Qualitative? Doubt it. Research conducted by someone other than the designated "right" folks? Highly unlikely.

Once again, I would like to issue a challenge. First, each and every person associated with CCSS from the "architects" to the test makers (I am looking at you, Pearson) has to do a one year stint in the classroom as an ELAR teachers. They must teach using only CCSS, model frameworks, and exemplar texts. During the year, their students needs to take all the tests required of our own students. Their performance will be judged on whether they followed all the prescribed curriculum (and added not a thing to it), observations by the teachers they would replace, and the scores of all their students including ELLs and special education and newly transitioned kids, ALL students. Then, we will publish the results and rank them from highest to lowest for all to see.

Seriously, I would not ask them to do this. It is bad enough that we are treated with his disdain. I do not want to promulgate the supercilious attitude of the folks who are "experts" but who are not in classrooms. It is easy to be expert when you are not the one being measured and judged and trashed.

Now for the HOPE (VISION) part. I am seeing a gradual dying of the CCSS fervor fever. I am seeing more and more professionals questioning the standards and the methods and most especially the intent of this program. And I am seeing brave teachers still working away in classrooms, using best practices, buying books and other materials with their own money, and changing kids' lives. It is my HOPE (VISION) that they get even more freedom in the days and weeks and months to come. In the meantime, I HOPE they have a wonderful summer with PD offered by Twitter and collaboration, and others who see the value in standards but also see the value of each child and know that sometimes one size fits all is a lie.
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