Read This: The Other Common Core Debate

As states and school districts struggle over whether and how to implement Common Core Standards that will ostensibly produce students who are college-ready, has anybody bothered to ask the colleges whether these standards do that? If they can’t because they don’t align with the actual requirements of the college courses, then why is there such an urgency to use them? If they can, will colleges and universities actually be ready to receive and further enhance these students? Will they even need the traditional introductory college courses?

Some of these questions are finally being addressed as the Hechinger Report reveals in this article cross-printed from Washington Monthly.

There’s been lip service for years on the need for closer collaboration between secondary and post-secondary teachers and classrooms. As a high school teacher. This discussion may bring some much needed attention to the larger issue of the gaps across our profession and how those affect student learning.

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  • EileenForrest

    We need to see the big picture!

    It is disturbing to see the disconnect that exists between secondary and post-secondary teachers and classrooms. In fact it is counterintuitive!  Wouldn’t it stand to reason that the two entities need to have familiarity and understanding of the goals and expectations of one another’s in order to properly serve all students?  How has this gone unnoticed?  If the CCSS are meant to help students be college and career ready, wouldn’t it be necessary to understand what that readiness entails? Shouldn’t courses be redesigned to incorporate the changes that the CCSS are hoping to effect in our students’ abilities to think critically and read, write and speak across curricular areas? It is refreshing to see that some states are working towards bridging this gap. What about the other states????

  • ReneeMoore

    Let’s Push’em

    Exactly right, Eileen. There have been calls and attempts at PK-20 collaboration for a long time, but I would like to see teachers ourselves lead the push to make this a reality.

    And we don’t have to wait for the folks who run our states or institutions to tell us its okay. The English department at our community college hosted a gathering to which we invited all the English teachers from middle and high schools across seven-counties. There were some awkward moments at first as people were a little defensive and clearly not used to talking with each other, but with some skillful facilitating, that soon gave way to more meaningful discussions of practice and curriculum alignment. This was pure teacher-to-teacher communication. Certainly that could be replicated or expanded via social networks and within our professional organizations.

  • TriciaEbner

    Agree!

    There has long been a disconnect between K-12 and higher ed; I experienced this first-hand transitioning from high school to college over 20 years ago. All my English professors assumed I had read certain texts–but I hadn’t. My high school English teacher taught those, yes, but he was differentiating back in the 1980’s and gave me different texts he thought were more appropriately challenging for me. So in a sense what he did was great, and in a sense, it wasn’t so great because the “literary canon” that the majority of my professors assumed I’d experienced, I hadn’t.

    I would love to see some of these discussion move to that K-20 platform. And I’ll bet there are some very defensive moments in them. But only if we begin the conversation can we come to some solutions and ideas that will make sense for our students.

    • ReneeMoore

      Across Subject Areas

      As an English teacher, I’ve seen some of these misconnections in different forms, and I suspect they exist in other subject areas as well. There is heated debate, for example, among secondary English teachers about whether we should still have a “canon” or broaden the canon to include more YA literature. Of course, the CCSS requirements are adding a new layer to that debate with the push/pull between fiction and nonfiction. Likewise, there is still some debate between teachers about writing/composition. I still have students coming to the college level who think an essay must have 5 paragraphs (and only 5–each with five sentences). Most college instructors I know detest the 5-paragraph essay model and spend a great deal of time trying to break students from it.

      We desperately need on-going professional conversations up and down the continuum that keep all of us abreast of best practices in our respective fields, as well as options for differentiation, and many other concerns. Ask yourself: How can I help initiate or join such conversations in my area/field/organization?  Should we promote more of those types of discussions here in the Collaboratory?