This is the song that sprang into my head today as I was reading various posts and articles about CCSS. I started with the idea of a circle in a spiral because I think much of the recent defensive defense of CCSS has been rather circular in its logic. It is "ever spinning" because now the aim of much of the discussion seems to be damage control, placing a positive spin on the pushback from parents and teachers and other stakeholders. Jeb Bush is out calling for folks to ignore the critics of CCSS because, in his words, "Let me tell you something. In Asia today, they don’t care about children’s self esteem. They care about math, whether they can read – in English – whether they understand why science is important, whether they have the grit and determination to be successful. You tell me which society is going to be the winner in this 21st Century: The one that worries about how they feel, or the one that worries about making sure the next generation has the capacity to eat everybody’s lunch?"
So, if we ignore CCSS, the other countries will come in and devour us apparently.
The song goes on to talk about "like a snowball down a mountain." That is exactly how CCSS came into existence. How about the phrase about a tunnel leading to another tunnel? Is there ever light at the end? Perhaps now that at least one state has pulled out (though most within the state believe they will retread CCSS and simply change the labels).
But my favorite line of the song is this, "like a jingle in the pocket and a jangle in teh head." BULLS-EYE. As this blog notes (http://deutsch29.wordpress.com/2014/03/25/what-common-core-looks-like-in-desperation/), there is desperation in the waters of the CCSS. And I think some of the desperation comes from the corporations who see their fortunes dwindling just a bit.
To be sure, there is much more that needs to be done in the pushback for CCSS. The union presidents are STILL supporting it despite the fact that their membership is not as enamored. The same is true of our professional organizations as I have pointed out on this blog recently. When the Executive Director of NCTE and other leaders within the organization speak out in apparent support, we lose. So, what do we do? Donalyn Miller and I talked about this during one of our recent #fancyphone calls. In part, we think, we need to go back and examine our pedagogical base. The song refers to "half-remembered names and faces," and I think perhaps this is key.
When we examine the CCSS, we need to ask how they fit within (not align) the theories that are part and parcel of our basic education and ed psych classes. Where does Piaget, Havighurst, Maslow, Kohlberg, and others fit in? Do the standards ignore the research of our leaders: Allington and Alverman, Hiebert, Pearson (not the company, P. David Pearson), Krashen, and so many more. I fear that we have forgotten some of those names and faces and documents and articles.
How about this document from IRA in 1999, WHAT ADOLESCENTS DESERVE: http://www.reading.org/downloads/positions/ps1036_adolescent.pdf? Please note that long before Coleman and his cronies penned CCSS, we had the discussion about what elements needed to be present to ensure that YAs became lifelong readers, what Donalyn would call wild readers. I wonder if the architects of CCSS even knew this document existed let alone knew what it contained? Doubtful.