See who else is slicing at Two Writing Teachers.
I have observed the good, the bad, and the middle ground of Common Core. I have tried to advocate for CC (in spite of my concerns) and lead teachers forward to develop rigor and support the instructional shifts. I have tried to work through shoddy units created as samples from the state that have been implemented full on in my district. I have even tried to work with other teachers across the county to make the units better. I have tried to teach myself and my students the language of the new standards. I have tried to support other teachers as they try to teach CC style. I have tried to find ways to teach close reading and still value reader response. I have tried to totally wrap my mind around CC.
Now I want to vent.
How to Do What’s Not Best for Students, Teachers, and Education:
1. Offer incentives and grants to states/districts that on the surface sound better than what’s happening with NCLB and in a time of financial need, so they’ll say yes before they fully understand what they are saying yes to.
2. Make your chief architects of CC people like Bill Gates and David Coleman (a man who maintains that nobody gives a sh** about what students think or feel). Do they have kids in public schools? Make your movement about big business and high stakes testing, not about students and growth.
3. Go full throttle with implementation and leave states, districts, and teachers flying and building a plane while it’s in mid-air.
4. Put a consortium like PARCC in charge of creating assessments, a group that creates one rubric that fits all genres in such a way to diminish what real writers do.
5. Let computers assess student writing and put Pearson-Prentice Hall in charge of it. Way to go! I know when my husband plugged in “Stairway to Heaven” to their Essay Graders program as an essay it passed.
6. Don’t ask teachers–move forward with implementation quickly. Then, wait for politicians to get incensed and fight the movement. Looks like CC might be a two year gig after the Georgia legislature meets. Maybe we won’t have to worry about PARCC assessments.
7. Throw new standards at teachers without first field testing and getting complete buy-in, so teachers can spend hours preparing how to teach and what to teach and how to make CC work for students. Then, politicians without regard to teachers or students and without any empathy for us as we move forward, talk about what a mistake CC is.
8. Give all the power and leverage to Pearson-and Prentice Hall, ETS, and all the big testing and assessment gurus.
9. Put all the attention of education on CC and neglect to consider the problems of poverty and other reasons for students being unsuccessful.
10. Make it all about text complexity and rigor and neglect finding ways to encourage creative and critical thinking.
11. Make teachers feel powerless, pressed, and stressed. Don’t worry: They won’t convey this to their students.
12. Increase the value of assessment–pretend like we’ve learned nothing from NCLB, and continue to make education about pervasive, high stakes assessment instead of about assessing for learning.
13. One Size Fits All Approach–Assume that all students at each grade are equipped to lift the same amount of weight.
14. Don’t think about the political ramifications that may cause states to back out of CC. Will states then go back to the old, keep some of the new, or just start all over again?
15. Have so many key instructional shifts come all at once, so teachers and students will have no idea what’s going on. These “crosswalk” documents are walking all over me.
Look, I’m not saying I don’t see some good in CC. I do. I just feel like I am in a flippin’ cyclone, and I have no idea where I’ll be thrown and what rubble will be strewn all over the ground. While I can handle change and adapt and still try to seek a way to do what is best for kids in spite of limitations, I don’t know what the change means. Are we changing? Are we not changing? Will CC end before it really begins? I just want to know what my next test will be to which I’m held accountable. With the Republican leadership in Georgia unanimously pushing to get out of CC and with them not meeting until January, who knows where I’ll be tossed.