These statements, though, made me reflect on a comment from someone at the TLA conference who has now decided that she cannot like Neil Gaiman because one of his books had sex in it (and those of us within earshot who joined in the conversation tried to get this person to tell us which book was being referred to without success). And I have heard the comments made about other authors, especially those who write for a wide range of readers including adult. I have heard it before about so many books. “Oh, I would have this book in the library if only it did not have ______________ (bad language, sex, references to drugs and alcohol or smoking, witchcraft, wizards, magic, etc.) in it.”
What it boils down to is the EXCUSE. We rationalize why we cannot do something. For me, it is exercise. But when it comes to books, we have to stop with the excuses, folks. We have to offer kids REAL books, HONEST books, TRUE FICTION, and nonfiction that does not try to make ugly things pretty. We cannot abandon best practices that we know (from research) work to engage kids. We cannot use any excuse to follow a curriculum that denies the needs of the KIDS.
Almost a year ago, this piece discussed how to minimize damage from CCSS: http://zhaolearning.com/2012/06/17/common-sense-vs-common-core-how-to-minimize-the-damages-of-the-common-core/.
I think we all need to join our voices with Zhao and others who are pointing out the problems. We need to offer solutions and alternatives and not excuses. A teacher at a conference recently thanked me for the blog postings. She told me it was helping her stand up more for what she knows is the right thing to do. Yes, that fed my ego, but it did much more, it let me know that maybe, just maybe, I am helping someone else find a voice. I am reading brilliant blog postings from those who are echoing Zhao and others who are pointing out the inadequacies of CCSS. They, in turn, give me the impetus I need to offer criticisms and alternatives, too.
Today, the sermon at church talked about three types of doors: door of welcome, doors of conversion, and doors of perseverance. I am thinking about those doors. I welcome true conversation about education (from those who are actually IN education, that is); I hope we can convert some to seeing the real problems (most especially POVERTY, did anyone see the newest research on income and its effect on test scores?). More importantly, I want us to be able to persevere, to have HOPE (VISION) that we can roll some of this back, that we can implement best practices, that we can be those who SpeakLoudly for the kids and against all that can harm them.