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10 June 2014 @ 05:40 pm
CCSS by any other name...  
I was reading an op-ed piece entitled HOW THE COMMON CORE WILL KEEP THE U.S. EDUCATION SYSTEM COMPETITIVE. I try to read as many of these pieces as I can. Here is the paragraph that stopped me short: "Common Core seeks to create a shared academic vocabulary for the young people of America. It asserts that if you graduate from a high school in the United States, you should depart with a diploma and a certain body of knowledge. It argues that there are things that you need to know to succeed in a world that seems to grow more challenging and complex by the day." You can read the entire article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-l-caret/how-the-common-core-will-_b_5446496.html?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=t.co.

What stopped me in my tracks was this assertion that everyone graduates with a certain body of knowledge. Shades of E.D. Hirsch and Bill Bennett He of he virtues we should all possess in order to be a true American). Amazon still lists those books in the series, "What your ___ grader should know." Copy for the book, newly revised (in 1999), includes this: "What will your child be expected to learn in the second grade? How can you help him or her at home? This book answers these all-important questions and more, offering the specific shared knowledge that hundreds of parents and teachers across the nation have agreed upon for American second graders. "

This knowledge we all agreed upon when the books first pubbed is interesting, indeed. First of all, no one agreed on content except the folks Hirsch wanted. It was sort of like how CCSS came into being: a small group of people with only tenuous ties to education decided on the content. Voila! Here is the agreed upon content.

Everything old is new again.

But back to the article touting how wonderful CCSS is. According to this writer, higher education officials are all lining up to laud the CCSS. Guess he has not run into Diane Ravitch, Paul Thomas, and many others who are NOT as enamored as he appears to be.

Anyone objecting to CCSS is doing so because the standards re too hard and the testing too difficult. Niiiice. Take any objection and make it sound like Arne Duncan's take on suburban moms, right?

The article goes on to say that graduates under CCSS will remain in college, graduate more quickly, and accrue less debt. Wow. That is a claim I have yet to have seen. If only it were true.

Finally, there is this: "As a nation, we must fend off those who would come forward with tired top-down, one-size-fits-all arguments and give our young people the tools they need to compete and succeed in the real world." That's right, CCSS is not at all top down. It is the solution to giving kids what they need to FINALLY be successful in college and career. Nice to know. Here I thought that CCSS was indeed top down. I must be mistaken. Perhaps I am one of the distressing, tenacious, whiny nay-sayers.

I can live with that.
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