Friday, June 8, 2012

#Teaching Isn't Common

In this month's Education Matters, there is an article entitled "There Are No Miracles, But There Are Teachers:  An Educator's View on the Common Core" (p.2-3)  It is a well-written article by a very dedicated and thoughtful educator.  A couple of things just kept nagging at me while I read. 
The author claims that "True collaboration among teachers could be the single most important result of common standards - if we seize the opportunity."  I love collaborating with my colleagues, and I do not support the Common Core Standards Initiative.  Sure, teachers can and will collaborate while implementing CCS, as most of us have done in the past while working with state and local standards, but it is incorrect to assume that the standards have fostered our collaboration.  Having the opportunity to work within, or create, a trusting and collegial environment encourages teachers to collaborate. 
He also shares a quote, which, in part states, "thoughtfully and faithfully implemented rigorous curricula can move the the achievement needle."  I have thoughtfully reviewed these standards and personally do not agree that they are rigorous at the high school level.  I believe that expecting teachers to be "faithful" to the implementation of a set of standards, as if they should not feel free to scrutinize them as they reflect on their teaching practices, seems to me to border on professional negligence. 
I agree with the author that, "By equating a set of standards with the curricular experiences created by teachers for their students, you immediately undercut the craft of teaching."   I would go a little further and add that linking a set of standards to academic achievement has the same result...
Wait a minute!  Isn't that what the 2012 Brown Center Report concluded? (p.9 of 36)

"Don’t let the ferocity of the oncoming debate fool you.  The empirical evidence suggests that the Common Core will have little effect on American students’ achievement.  The nation will have to look elsewhere for ways to improve its schools."



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