professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Follow, follow, follow, follow

Many might not know the reference in my subject line is to THE FANTASTICKS, along running Broadway show. One of the songs invites us to "try to remember." The older I get, the more I try to remember, try to pull up those lovely (and sometimes not so lovely) memories from the past. CCSS often sends me off to memory land which is strange since it purports to be new and ground-breaking. For instance, the other day, I was following links to links to links and came across a reference to the six SHIFTS in literacy which CCSS is intended to cause.

Let us ignore for the moment that the standards themselves are straight out of the 1970s and 1980s (nothing new here, move along). Here are some of the SHIFTS that CCSS will cause at least as far as one web site insists:

"Teacher gives student less to read in order to dive deeper into complex text. "

Hmmm...reading less to help students read better? Really?

"Provide an accessible classroom library that consists of literacy and informational texts in a wide variety of genres for students to engage with independently."

Hmmm..."literacy" texts. I wonder what those are? And how does independent reading play into all this?

"Students understand and apply reading strategies specific to literary text and specific to informational text."

Hmm......applying reading strategies to text. Wow, no there is an original idea? And strategies to informational text? Like what? I am clueless (insert sarcastic font above, please).

"Engage students in rich and rigorous conversations dependent on common text." AND rigorous. That relate to what we are reading? Does that mean I cannot talk about what I ate for breakfast instead? Or talk about fashion instead?

"Ensure that textual materials are diverse in both nature and genre."

Hmm...could someone explain diversity in nature to me, please? Does the diversity have to be nature and genre or can it be either/or?

This particular site has several errors in grammar, so who knows how it is tied to CCSS (I am sure it is not one of their official sites, no doubt). I shudder at the reference to literacy text (I think the author means literary as opposed to nonfiction or informational text). I grin ruefully at the mention of applying reading strategies (I think we have done that for a long time) and the mention of a classroom library (really? Books in the classroom? What a novel idea!) and conversations on texts read in class (discussion, anyone?).

It is the existence of such sites and assertions which continue to concern me about CCSS. It seems to mean different things to different people. Therein lies a huge problem. We do not have a common understanding of common core. Let us please step back from simply accepting the CCSS as written (and written by many outside of any sort of classroom). Let us question the conflicting definitions floating out there about nonfiction, close reading, and more. Let us stand up and assert that our positions within the classrooms are more valuable than those standing outside the classrooms in terms of assessing students. Please let us call for a halt to the testing craze which does little more than line the pockets of the test makers. And, please, please, please, let us SpeakLoudly about our concerns, let all our voices be heard.
Tags: ccss, idiocy, literacy, shifts
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