Common Core Shift–Notes for Revisions

I have been a fan of the Common Core Learning Standards for ELA since I first read them a few years ago. By and large, the Common Core Standards represent a shift that is more in line with what I’ve always tried to focus on in my teaching. I actually like these nicely organized standards that push toward deeper thinking.

I have a few concerns though. In no particular order, here they are:

  • Not everything in the standards seems developmentally appropriate–analyzing author’s purpose in the 3rd grade, for example?
  • Only one teacher was included in the team of 60 who wrote the standards. (Perhaps this accounts the above point–either way, it needs to be checked and revised.)
  • No mention of poetry writing in the English Language Arts standards. How many teachers across the country will stop giving students the opportunity to write poems?  How is this good for kids?
  • Fiction writing is downplayed, visible only as couched inside the general concept of “narrative” witing. This lessens our students’ participation in a rich literary tradition.
  • At least in NY, teachers have not been included in the design of assessments for the CCLS. Instead, Pearson is doing this work. And it shows in the product that teachers are not involved.  Lots to think about and improve upon if the intention is there.
  • Are standardized assessments going to drive the instructional shift toward Common Core? That would leave so much important stuff out of the shift!  It would take a great opportunity and diminish it significantly and unnecessarily.

I’ve got a lot more to say about each of these points and I will be exploring them over the next several months. As I said before, I like the Common Core, but, as many educators are saying right now, I’m concerned about implementation. I see a need for some thoughtful revisions, and teachers need to be involved in this process.  Can we make that happen? What’s the forum for it?

[image credit: leaguewriters.blogspot.com]

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