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07 May 2014 @ 03:43 pm
Common Sense in the Face of Common Core  
It seems as though some of the tides are turning. CCSS is no longer the darling child it has been; critics are speaking up and some media outlets are actually listening to the facts presented. There are still some fence sitters, of course. They criticize the way the standards have been rolled out but have no quarrel with the standards. And then there are others who are pointing a critical finger at the CCSS. Valerie Strauss' column in the Washington Post has been one of the few outlets printing the work of those who are speaking out about the standards themselves. Here is her latest offering: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/05/02/6-reasons-to-reject-common-core-k-3-standards-and-6-axioms-to-guide-policy/.

Many have already indicated that some of the K-3 standards are simply developmentally inappropriate. Of course, the method by which they were developed (working backward from 12th grade down) is, well, asinine. Add to the approach the lack of classroom teachers and early childhood experts of any kind, and it is no winder that the K-3 standards are wrong.

Beyond the K-3 debacle, however, I think that this piece speaks to the other grade level standards thusly:

2. Many of the skills mandated by the CCSS erroneously assume that all children develop and learn skills at the same rate and in the same way.

This is the problem at the root is it not? CCSS assumes all kids learn in the me way at the same time and with the same depth. If they do not, of course, it is the fault of the teacher. Nice Catch-22. I taught middle school for some time. I know the fallacy of the "all children will" mandates (and they go back to the Texas "miracle" before they became NCLB and then CCSS, which is NCLB on steroids). All children will need love and support and encouragement/ And all children will need food, clothing, shelter, caring adults. The fact is that all children do not possess all the prerequisites for learning. Hunger, homelessness, abandonment, and abuse are all issues that (despite politicians' assertions to the contrary) affect learning.

I cringe when I see the works of Maslow and Kohlberg and Piaget and Havighurst and others ignored, when I see previous research deemed unscientific or immaterial. If we are truly trying to write some standards, we need to take into account not just the cognitive (and some of that has been ignored as well) but the affective as well. Whole language was dismissed by those who proposed a "balanced" literacy approach. I see the whole child approach swept away by the same experts. When we ignore the whole, address the half, we do not create the citizens of the future.
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