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11 July 2013 @ 12:39 pm
Little Understanding, Lots of Propaganda  
So there is this link from Twitter a couple of days ago: http://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/teacher-resources/common-core/. CCSS resources for teachers. W00t! NOT. Look at how this site opens the resources page: "In an effort to add value to learning in the classroom, 45 states in the United States have welcomed the Common Core State Standards. The Standards focus on the idea that lessons contain realistic and practical use for students. This means teachers prepare students not only for college but also for earning a living, for work, which concept seems obvious to many, especially working parents. Yet, the idea of preparing young children for the world around them has often eluded the educational system which frequently finds itself engrossed in a vicious cycle of patting itself on the back for getting students to sit still and take notes."

Okay, let me get this straight. Prior to CCSS and the amazing architects, process, validators (keep reading the piece and see how they pat THEMSELVES on the back), education consisted either of teachers who patted themselves on the back but did nothing OR teachers who maintained quiet so kids could take notes. Nothing else apparently. Well, then thank goodness for CCSS, right?

Here is a site purporting to be resources for teachers that opens by basically slamming education and teachers. Interesting approach. Wonder how that would work in other professions?

Keep reading the introductory stuff here. The three elements of CCSS are: FOCUS, COHERENCE, RIGOR. Read the description of each. Focus narrows the curriculum/standards to a few on which teachers can focus (has this person seen all the standards at each grade level I have to wonder?). Coherence turns standards and curriculum into art (somehow). The example given is hardly interwoven and intricate. And I would suggest we have been doing just that. We stopped teaching grammar in isolation some time ago, we connect reading and writing using mentor texts, and so much more. This is just a small part of my problem with CCSS. It is suggesting that these standards and approaches did not exist before. They are flat out WRONG. And finally, we have that wonderful word RIGOR. And here is the greatest quote thus far in terms of misunderstanding and misinformation: The CCSS seem to be saying, “Okay, the old standards didn’t match what great teachers actually do, so let’s open up the world of education for all students and let teachers get kids excited about learning again.”

These standards are OLD standards (someone show me any of them that have not appeared I scope and sequences, state curricula, etc.). Apparently, some teachers are good and this whole process will make them all great so that kids will be excited about learning. Thanks, CCSS, this is exactly what I need (insert sarcastic font for preceding sentence). NOW I can be a great teacher and my kids will all learn. What a load off my mind.

With this sort of misinformation abounding out there in cyberspace, with misapplications of CCSS standards and how they are to be utilized, without common definitions of the most essential terms of CCSS, it is no wonder teachers are frustrated. We need to do more than impose a moratorium on testing. We need to call a halt to the implementation of these standards. A new set of validators need to be permitted to revise the standards with input from, oh let's say, PRACTICING teachers and professors of literacy, We need to take a step BACK, to talk about what the terms being bandied about mean: rigor, standard, nonfiction to name a few. We need to do this so we do not leave yet another generation of children behind.
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