professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Commodification, Part Deux

When you set out on a drive early in the day in Texas, you will see lots and lots of road kill. Critters come out in the "cool" (relative term) of the evening and, unfortunately, are no match for trucks and cars speeding along the highway. I actually know when road kill is up ahead because of the enormous turkey vultures who are either circling the carrion or are competing for some of the bounty. I know this is the "circle of like." I have seen THE LION KING, after all. But when the vultures are human and the carrion is, too, I just want to hurl.

What in the world am I talking about, right? Go, click on this link (this is NOT a scam unfortunately) and then come on back.

Yes, for only $3000 a person, here is an institute that will turn someone into a black belt in CCSS. Most of us are still attempting to figure out how to implement the changes, and here is an institute ready to show you all you need to know and to do. I wonder how they got ahead of the curve? So, schools will spend more thousands of $$$ to get black belts on faculty. This is all money that does not go to the kids many of whom need food, clothing, shelter, and access to books and the internet: things I see as basic in my own life.

Now, those of you who are doing the early PD and helping us all see how we can take what we are already doing (BEST PRACTICES) and align them with the standards (which are DICTATES from the top down) are definitely trying your best to assist your colleagues. I will give a couple of presentations in RttT states who adopted CCSS in the fall. That is why I am reading all I can about CCSS and, I suspect, why I am getting these tweets and FB postings and emails about CCSS. However, there are some folks out there who are selling "kits" and other prepackaged programs all aimed at CCSS. This is commodification (remember the discussion from yesterday?), too.

Instead of pouring out more funds for PD in a can (shades of M Hunter and the other things I sat through lo those many years ago), it seems to me that we all need to pause for a moment, examine the standards, identify what we are already doing, and then begin to plan to add elements perhaps overlooked in the past. The assertions I see that narrative nonfiction has been neglected bothers me as I think many of us have included nonfiction for some time. The assertion that our texts are not rigorous or complex indicates to me that whoever is making those assumptions has not read recent contemporary literature (and since LIFE OF PI, a text I find complex and rigorous, has a 5th grade reading level along with HUCK FINN, I question their measures as well). I suggest reading THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN and then telling an elementary teacher that she or he needs more rigor. Perhaps the people who gave us CCSS should all be required to read THE ASTONISHING LIFE OF OCTAVIAN NOTHING and then take a test over it to see how "close" they read. CCSS has reduced complex and rigorous to lexile and RL and other CORPORATE measures because (in the words of a recent ad from Reading Renaissance , computers are better at selecting appropriate texts than educators are.

So, beware these commodified goods and services. We know what the best practices are. We need to continue to use them in our classes. Tune in tomorrow when I rant and rave about the paucity of reading that will be demanded of kids under CCSS.
Tags: ccss, pd, vultures
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