Friday, October 25, 2013

Common Core

I am 95% for it.

If you have been tracking "Common Core" it is an attempt to standardize what is taught at each grade level.

I have seen a lot of froth and energy trashing Common Core on the forums I haunt.  Here is an example.

Link to video. 

I think this lady was guilty of having her mouth run ahead of her brain.  I do it all the time.  That is one reason why I like typing.  (I am a slow typist and I am still guilty of running ahead of my brain)

Here are the actual Third Grade Common Core standards for mathematical operations.  You can look it up,  Link

Fluently multiply and divide within 100, using strategies such as the relationship between multiplication and division (e.g., knowing that 8 × 5 = 40, one knows 40 ÷ 5 = 8) or properties of operations. By the end of Grade 3, know from memory all products of two one-digit numbers.   (emphasis mine)

You have to understand that I came from an assembly line environment.  We made trucks.  Each "team" was responsible for certain tasks.  The work was standardized so it was done in a certain order because the build is layered.  You cannot install the seats before you install the carpet, for instance.

Common Core is an attempt to layer "learning" in a rational and developmentally appropriate way.  It is an attempt to fairly divvy out the content on a grade-by-grade basis, with an eye toward what most kids of a given age can wrap their minds around.


The other source of ire seems to be all the social crap that is being marketed as "Common Core".

The education industry runs on fads.  The hot buzz-words change every three years but vendors and practitioners repackage their same, tired offerings as the latest thing.

It is as disingenuous as relabeling rayon reinforced bias ply tires as polymer reinforced radial tires.  And it is done all the time.

The human capacity to deceive is infinite.  And it starts with our ability to deceive ourselves.

Overheard at a party, "I knew I was a great reading teacher but really did not know why until Whole Language came along....and then I realized that I had been doing it before everybody else!"

Local Standards are Better

Well, maybe.

If a school district has found a better, more rational order to teach then they have a moral obligation to attempt to change the Common Core. 

Choosing to be different for a minute improvement or for reasons of ego have a hidden cost.

Costs of non-Common Core

Kids transfer schools all the time.

Families shred and custody changes.

The economy stinks and people move to find work or lose their house or cannot afford their rent.

Michigan offers schools-of-choice so kids can flee crappy school systems or individual administrators, teachers or fellow students who might have a vendetta.

Common Core improves the chances that the student will have smooth transitions to new schools.  There will be fewer, smaller gaps.  There will be less repetitions.

Another advantage of Common Core is that text books will be competing on a more level playing field.  Every third grade math book will cover the same basic material.  It will be possible to identify programs that out-perform their peers.  The competitors will either have to replicate the magic or concede the business.  It will be harder to hide under performance because there will be less smoke, dust and noise to hide beneath.

Common Core will hold Educators Accountable

You have met them if you had children.  The teachers who are Mr Spontaneous, Mz Cannotchange or Dr Snickersbar

Mr Spontaneous sees a gum wrapper blowing along the ground and has the kids to a two week diorama on weather.  Then he sees a butterfly and they raise butterflies for a month....

Mz Cannotchange plants bean seeds in Dixie cups every year.  It may have nothing to do with 4th grade science but it is cheap, she already has the lesson plan written and it gives her brain a week of vacation.

Dr Snickersbar believes that each child will be a heat-seeking missile that will seek out the learning most crucial to their growth.  The dietary equivalent of this thinking is to allow children to choose their own diet.  There is a wealth of ideology that tells us that children will usually choose green beans over snickers bars because their bodies know what is good for them.

Common Core will float these bad habits into the light of day and they will change.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Readers who are willing to comment make this a better blog. Civil dialog is a valuable thing.