Skip to main content

What do you think?

Today someone asked the following question: if you're not in favor of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), then what standards would you propose we replace them with? Although my response below started out somewhat tongue-in-cheek, it has made me think about what it is I really believe.

If it were up to me, I would say no standards.
Instead, I would have the kids brainstorm their passions, those things they would really like to study.
Then, I would categorize these with a group of colleagues.
Next, I would lay out all of the things (S&B's) that students would be learning if they were allowed to study their passions.
Along with this, would be all of the things teachers would be teaching that would help students study what they are truly interested in.
Of course, there are other things I would do like reading and writing workshop, etc.
Finally, I would present this to your principal. If you did a cross check of this with established standards I bet you would hit all of them and then some.
Hmmm...Maybe I'll do this with my ESL kids just to see what happens...

It's not that I don't believe in standards. Rather, I believe in kids. I also believe that teachers working together have the professional knowledge and expertise to know what is important for kids to learn. And, of course, there are the kids themselves who can tell us what they need to get better at. We also have professional organizations that have given us excellent standards over the years - NCTM, NCTE/IRA, etc. So, why do we need something created by non-educators? Why do we trust these standards more than our own knowledge? Why do we need a rigid set of goals that all students must master by a certain grade level?

I know. I know. What about new teachers? Well, what about them? That is why there is a collective of teachers, new and experienced, to help sort this out.

This is out loud thinking, and it's very rough. It's not a typical SOL but it captures a moment in the timeline of my evolving thinking so I think it qualifies. What are your out loud, rough thoughts on this issue??

Cross posted to March Slice of Life Challenge, Day #6.

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Teacher I Want to Be

The
I have been dismayed to realize that despite my self-image as a teacher with a learner centered classroom, I am far from truly achieving that goal. 

I have been listening carefully to myself lately, and I don't like what I hear myself saying to the kids. Instead of empowering my students to take ownership of their learning, I am still the director on the stage. I still ask leading questions rather than ones that push the learner to figure things out for herself. I realize I often spoon feed my students hopeful that they will give me the answer I'm looking for. An answer that will make my job easier. Answers that will fit with what I expect students to say despite the fact that 30 years in education has taught me nothing if not that students are unpredictable, and if we prepare for anything, that is what we should be prepared for. 
Teacher
An anecdote. The other day I was talking with a student about the fact that she was abandoning more books than she was finishing. I was as…

Searching for Balance

I have been doing a lot of soul searching over the last couple of days. 
And, I've come to the conclusion that I must change my attitude - shift my stance - so I can assume a new perspective. So that I am more aligned with what's important and may add value to my life.  
Focusing on the negative is not making me stronger or healthier. In fact, I am often stressed because I worry a lot about unimportant things. I obsess over situations out of my control. I dismiss positive experiences that would help lift my spirits and align my focus towards what's important. 
I need a distraction from my own thoughts.
I need balance in my life. Not because I work hard to prepare my classes. Not because I read a lot of professional literature. Not because I wrote a lot this summer and will continue to do so now that school has started. But because I have been obsessing on the wrong things. Mostly, I obsess about what someone said or did and what it says about me as a teacher. I obsess about …

Sitting in My Usual Spot

I am sitting in my usual spot.
At least it has been my usual spot for about a week now.
It has become my work space.
It's where I sit to participate in online summer PD activities.
It's where I read.
It's where I write.

My usual spot is in a corner of the couch.
The arm rest is unusually wide.
I can pile my books, notebooks and even my laptop there.
And, I do.

I used to have a more conventional work space,
but then my husband, who works from home,
and was struggling to stick to his side of the desk,
finally spread out,
invading my work space.

One day, after many attempts at getting organized,
and not succeeding,
he told me that he was going to add an extension to our house,
so I could have my own work space.
I told him it was cheaper to tidy up.
That was months ago.

Before claiming my usual spot,
I set up a temporary, wobbly table against a wall in my bedroom
for a work space.
I used that for a few months.
Not ideal, but better than nothing.

I've reclaimed my conventio…