The standards explicitly say that Shakespeare and classic American literature should be taught, said Coleman, who became president of the College Board in November. “It does really concern me that these facts are not as clear as they should be,” he said.
The next paragraph does go on to point out, though, that this information is basically one footnote in the 60+ page document. And the preceding quote also manages to be incomplete, too. For the CCSS does allow for contemporary literature in working toward standards. Even Coleman seems to overlook that. He's overlooked quite a bit. And he expects others to overlook some things: his lack of qualifications for bring an architect of the standards. How about I go into a field in which I have zero experience and little expertise and offer to write the standards for the profession? I could write standards for care for folks with bad knees (got those, had lots of ecperience with them as a matter of fact). Of course, that is idiocy.
Here is another helpful quote:
“Schools are doing some goofy things — principals or superintendents are not reading,” Shanahan, who was among the experts who advised Coleman on the standards, said.
If administrators are misinterpreting the standards, and they are the ones who are basically directing the CCSS traffic, what hope is there that this situation will change? This mis-reading has been going on since the standards were first made public. Where were Shanahan and Coleman then? Where were our professional organizations, too, for that matter? NCTE and IRA have been rtying to walk a politically correct line. That tightrope walk has left teachers without a net.
And finally (for this installment) is this quote from Coleman:
“One of the striking things in American education is that reading scores at the fourth-grade level have been frozen for 40 years,” he said. “We’ve hit a wall in reader literacy that these standards respond to.”
First, I want to know the source of this claim. And at what level are scores frozen? is this a sort of lake Woebegone thing? Should all kids be above average? if so, what is average anymore?
Second, how exactly do these new CCSS standards address the literacy scores of 4th graders. I need data there, too. And yet, there is little being offered. Instead, there is criticism and finger pointing and stuff being flung far and wide.
I am old enough to recall the publication of BECOMING A NATION OF READERS in 1985. Check out this description of the publication (one I still possess and turn to over and over again):
Fulfilling a need for careful and thorough synthesis of an extensive body of findings on reading, this report presents leading experts' interpretations of both current knowledge of reading and the state of the art and practice of teaching reading. The introduction contains two claims: (1) the knowledge is now available to make worthwhile improvements in reading throughout the United States, and (2) if the practices seen in the classrooms of the best teachers in the best schools could be introduced everywhere, improvement in reading would be dramatic.
Here is the research and the analysis of said research. Here were recommendations about how to address the goal of becoming a nation of readers. See the difference in emphasis here? The 1985 goal was that we should become a nation of readers. The 2014 goal is to make kids college and career ready. Seems like somewhere along the way, we lost sight of the important goal, huh?
More to come tomorrow.