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15 May 2013 @ 10:57 am
Tentacles  
A friend sent me this link to a PW (Publishers Weekly) story about CCSS: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/columns-and-blogs/soapbox/article/57183-core-concerns.html. It is not the first article about CCSS in the book market publications. There have been many. Publishers are feeling the push (nope, it is a shove) to align with CCSS. You will see it in the catalogs; they are publishing teacher's guides with CCSS standards and approaches and the like.

I am beginning to think of CCSS as the Hydra of mythology. Cut off one head and two more grow in its place. As I work on my new book (Leading to Reading), I am tempted to begin by listing all of the ways CCSS is not healthy for children and teachers and learning and schools and education. But that might be the entire book, so instead I am trying to focus on what I know and experts INSIDE of education know about books and reading.

Here are some of the quotes from this PW piece that demonstrate how Hydra like CCSS has become:

"One can already hear the grumbling—the standards “weren’t written by teachers”; or, “they’re bringing commercialism into the classroom”; or, “second graders are suddenly supposed to be reading like fifth graders.” One can already see heads stuck in the sand, waiting for the initiative to die."

Well, yeah, not having teachers help write the curriculum they should teach is a problem. So is bringing commercialism into the classroom. Ditto expecting kids to do things they are not developmentally ready to do. THIS is part of your argument? Really?

"The Common Core recognizes reading as the dynamic component of education, as the yeast in the dough. It affirms that reading fluency is not a mechanical process, but rather a profound event. In making this observation, and putting it into practice, the Common Core gets it very right."

Well, if this is reading done right, all of my coursework for the past 30+ years is wrong. False dichotomies are built in CCSS. Standards were written from the top down in terms of the K-12 range. Is it any wonder, then, that there is no building of knowledge evident?

"There is a great deal at stake. If the Common Core ends up on the scrap heap, you can be sure that the next big educational initiative will hinge upon something other than inculcating and celebrating the power of reading."

And we end with this observation. I guess I am an ancient because I seem to recall BECOMING A NATION OF READERS attempting to focus on reading decades ago. It was not a mandate, not a curriculum (scripted or otherwise). It was not commercial. It was research-based. It did not treat teachers as though they were idiots but provided them autonomy. It did not ask kids to perform above their abilities. Instead it provided, in clear terms, the path to building and sustaining readers. Would that this bookseller had done a little more homework. Booksellers and publishers can help best by ignoring CCSS and, instead, providing us with books to reach all our kids, to engage them in reading for pleasure as well as for school. Give us books; give us wings is the Hazard quote. Not "give us books; give us alignment." Alignment is for cars not kids.
 
 
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