1. Nonfiction IS literature and literary. It seems to me more and more that I am seeing some dividing line between fiction and nonfiction when it comes to valuing the text as literary or a work of literature. Additionally, there are some many different definitions running around out there about genres and types of nonfiction that my hed sometimes spins trying to see the approach taken by a particular writer.
2. CHOICE should mean choice for students as well as for teachers. I think CCSS, especially in its misapplications, limits choice considerably for educators who then limit choice for students. I see this continuous limiting of material as tantamount to censorship.
3. BALANCE is once again being used to mollify those of us who are critical of some of the assessments, curricular units, and implementation of CCSS. Just in case some of you have trouble with memory or were not around the last time balance was used in education, it was during the great phonics debate (which ended up not being debate at all and eerily similar to the "discussion" now about RttT and CCSS). Balance is for beams. Think of the teeter totter and how infrequently it is in balance, and I think you will see the fallacy in this argument.
4. Being critical should be something teachers are encouraged to do and not just part of the "change" being brought about by these new standards, Critics are being bashed when it comes to CCSS and RttT. The criticism is coming from the very top, too. Arne Duncan does not want critics; he wants complacent adherence to what he thinks is best. Do not bother him with criticism even when it is rooted in rock solid research and knowledge.
5. Education should not be synonymous with corporation though it is right now as never before. NBC's Education Nation is, in effect, Corporation Nation. Look at the sponsors. Look at the absence of educators.
6. I am weary of the focus on LATER. "You will need this later," seems to be a rallying cry. Let's focus a bit on the here and now. What do kids need to know now? Let's also be careful of the term "success." I see writing about successful kindergartners and successful middle schoolers. I want to see more about happy, healthy, kind, considerate, empathetic, and loving kids.
I could go on. I will go on. But let's think about some of this here. How can we address the concerns we have without being accused of negativity, of being took critical, of not being team players. Maybe I want a different team. Maybe I want to be part of the same kind of team I had as a classroom teacher. I was part of a 4 person academic team; I was part of a larger team too: the school team. These communities supported me, helped me see how to improve, encouraged me to try new things. I am not sure what kind of community I would have in a school where it is about racing to the top or improving test scores (with only that as a focus). I need community; I need colleagues; I need autonomy. How can I ensure teachers get these essential elements?