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How Much Do You Think Common Core Standards Will Actually Affect What We Do In Our Classrooms?

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As I’ve shared on more than one occasion, I’ve been skeptical of Common Core, though I’ve also recognized it as a reality and have begun to explore what it means for my work.

Jay Greene, with whom I generally disagree, recently published an interesting post where he writes:

Standards mostly don’t matter because they are just a bunch of vague words in a document. What teachers actually do when they close their classroom door is in no way controlled by those words. Changing the words in a standards document is very unlikely to dramatically change what teachers do.

What do you think?

I might convert reader responses into a column over my Education Week Teacher blog, so send me your comment privately if you don’t want it public.

And, if you’re interested, here are some of my “Best…” lists related to Common Core:

The Most Useful Resources For Implementing Common Core — I Hope You’ll Contribute More

The Best Resources For Learning About Common Core Standards & English Language Learners

The Best Articles Sharing Concerns About Common Core Standards

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

4 Comments

  1. Larry, I agree with the basic premise of what you’re saying. However, I think, as with many (most? all?) things in education, it is how individual teachers and districts respond to the CCSS that will determine their impact, for good or bad.

    I grant that there are many things about the Common Core which are concerning. However, as you say in your first paragraph, they are a reality we must live with. My district has taken this as impetus to reexamine our curriculum and our mission and to rethink how we do business on a daily basis. Is Common Core going to drive it directly? No, but some of the important principles embedded in it (standards of mathematical practice, for example) will give us a reason to consider whether what we are doing is really leading to meaningful learning or whether we’re just doing what we’ve always done because it’s what we’ve always done.

  2. Larry,
    I do think the Common Core standards are going to make a difference for teachers and students. There is a greater understanding of “what” all students need to be learning. Unfortunately that has also created a great deal of tension and angst as it often appears that the accountability pieces will be the prominent drivers. I think a careful focus on what is important as advocated in this blog by Burkins and Yaris that outlines their IRA preconference session sums it all up! http://www.reading.org/general/Publications/blog/BlogSinglePost/reading-today-online/2013/03/21/the-abcs-of-teaching-learning-in-the-common-core-era#.UVxHAZPktyX

    It is possible that ALL students could have increased opportunities to be working on the same standards across our country! What a benefit for students!

  3. I tried to answer this question, and I still think after a year of implementation that this my answers lies in these words:

    “Curriculum is informed by standards, not determined by them. By equating a set of standards with the curricular experiences created by teachers for their students, you immediately undercut the craft of teaching. This flawed approach to understanding the Common Core amounts to an elimination of the power of the classroom.”

    “As we craft our curricula from these common standards, we can connect with the best ideas from around the country to inform how we bring the standards to life in our classrooms. We should feel empowered to use evolving technologies to go beyond our classrooms, schools, districts and even states, and to start crafting and sharing curricula and experiences in order to serve all students and families well.”

    “…there are no miracles in the hard task of closing the achievement gap, graduating college- and career-ready students, and preparing the next generation to be engaged citizens in a fast-changing, information-saturated world. I hope the national conversation now moves toward recognizing the power of holding basic standards in common; that curricula and classrooms will remain as varied as the people teaching and learning in them; and that attracting, supporting, developing and retaining quality teachers would be the closest thing to a miracle that our schools can and should hope for.”

    These came from a piece that can be found here:
    http://hechingerreport.org/content/there-are-no-miracles-but-there-are-teachers-an-educators-view-on-the-common-core_8045/

    thanks for continuing the conversation.

  4. I’m not a teacher. I’m a parent who is very concerned about Common Core Curriculum. My daughter is 2 1/2 years old and I can only hope we have a better understanding of what CCC means by the time she starts kindergarten. Your quote is exactly what worries me about today’s public education. “What teachers actually do when they close their classroom door…” I don’t want teachers to propagandize my children into a political belief system. I don’t want my children to be taught to serve the government. I feel CCC is extremely bad for our country and it’s another step towards socialism. We need to be teaching our children critical thinking skills, love for country, independence, liberty, freedom, and succeeding in a capitalist market place like entrepreneurship. Common Core does none of these things. To remove classic literature from the curriculum and filling it with government handouts to read should be illegal. It’s down right unconstitutional to be forced to learn something that fulfills another’s agenda. Don’t even get me started about Bill Gates and what he plans to gain from all of this. This is another example of government in bed with corporations. Common Core is very bad.

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