Monday, October 12, 2009

Core standards--

A move to standardized standards—

By folks who feel it’s in the best interests of students and our country—

But is it?

Lots of articulate folks adding to the discussion-- with reason and some with more passion--

Tom Hoffman’s 10 Reasons you should care about the Common Core State Standards Initiative's Draft English Language Arts Standards-

  1. Your state has probably already committed to using them.
  2. The federal Department of Education is exerting heavy pressure on states to adopt the Common Standards.
  3. An impressive and powerful list of partners and supporters are backing the Common Standards initiative.
  4. These "college- and career-ready" standards, if implemented, will become the basis of all subsequent K-12 English Language Arts standards.
  5. These standards, if implemented, will become the basis of all subsequent K-12 English Language Arts curriculum and assessments.
  6. The results of those assessments will, if implemented, be used to evaluate not just schools and students, but the performance of individual teachers.
  7. The creation of data systems to attach test scores to individual teachers is a basic requirement for federal Race to the Top grants and a top priority for the federal Department of Education and other powerful interests.
  8. The Common Core State Standards Initiative English Language Arts Standards are not actually English Language Arts standards.
  9. The Common Standards for English Language Arts are narrower, lower, and shallower than the Language Arts standards of high performing countries.
  10. We are inviting testing companies to determine the future of our schools with virtually no accountability or public input.”

Deborah Meier’s Standards and Passing on the Idea of Democracy

“On standardized standards: I'm a fan of disagreements and messiness—and maybe that's beyond the call of Reason. But here's a try.

If we all agreed on everything, or even came close, democracy would be an inefficient and cumbersome business and a luxury we could ill afford in tough times. Yet getting agreement is no easy matter. Democracy was "invented" to do that—when needed.

My default position: leave it to those most affected to settle it.”

Chris Lehman’s Core Standards Sound Bites and Standardization

“There are plenty of reasons to question this movement, but here's the scariest part for me. This Core Standards movement should scare everyone who believes that meaning and learning is still most powerfully made in the spaces that students and teachers share.

This is about how students are taught that information, how they are assessed on that information, and on the role of big business in teaching and assessing them.”

Karl Fisch’s What’s Core? summarizes and extends many of the points in all the conversations.

“I would strongly suggest that you take some time to review the standards and some of the thoughtful posts about them, and then provide your feedback. Particularly if you’re a Language Arts teacher, but even if you’re not because, as Tom points out, as they are currently worded all teachers will be responsible – and held accountable – for students meeting these standards. And, as he points out in another post, it appears as though the end goal just might be high school graduation requirements.”

As Karl notes:

“Where can you provide some feedback? NCTE has issued a statement and is soliciting feedback, and you can provide feedback directly to the validation committee by October 21st. If you’re a member of NEA or AFT, you might also consider letting them know what you like or dislike about these draft standards.”

Isn’t this a time to raise your voice and comment?