Dressing up the Common Core

I’ve always understood the adage, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”  I get it.  Dress nicely and people will notice.  Yet, I find that I have had the fortune of consistently having the job I wanted.  From my humble beginnings as a teenager delivering newspapers via an old bike and a milk crate to working as a teacher leader (and teacherpreneur!) helping students and collaborating with educators, I have been blessed with finding jobs that I thoroughly enjoy.

One summer in early 1980-something, I was hired as a swim instructor for a summer day-camp.  Truly all I wanted was a job where I could be outside and being poolside was a bonus.  I worked with children between the ages of 5 and 7 teaching floating techniques and how to swim.  What I found, almost immediately, was this tremendous feeling of accomplishment, pride, excitement and overall giddiness when I saw the kids being successful!  That summer I knew that I would be a teacher; I wanted to continue to reap those intrinsic rewards working with young people.  So, I never had the feeling of looking for my “next” job; I felt that I discovered my gift and purpose of being an educator.  And, happily, twenty years into my career, there is still nothing like the satisfaction of teaching students lessons and see them apply and use what they learn!

Sure, there is a part of me that always wanted to play baseball for my NY Mets.  Yet, if I dress for the job I may want and wear a baseball uniform to school, it may be somewhat distracting to the young people trying to become better readers and writers in my classroom.

Interestingly, as professionals are advised to dress for the job they may want, the state of Florida is beginning to dress the Common Core State Standards a bit differently as well.  It seems that some states, including Florida, are making changes to these standards or are adding a few additional ones to potentially calm those that oppose national education standards.  I suspect that these states will “dress up” these standards with a new, state-owned, title for them as well.  The logic of finding common ground with opponents of these new standards is sound, but will these changes potentially distract from the work of improving the ELA/Math learning gains of our students? So I ask: Are states dressing the Common Core State Standards for the betterment of learning for all or are they simply trying to appease an outspoken voice against national standards?

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