I read an article today that made me comment. I mean, I read stuff all the time about education 'reform' that makes me WANT to comment, but I persuade myself to avoid the futility - who cares about the comments section, really...anyone? If it's not snarky?
Today, I saw a number of articles in the Education GadFly (which shows up in my inbox, since I have an email subscription) that caught my eye. It was called, "Early reports from the heartland show support for the Common Core". Now, believe it or not, ROPE members do attempt to read articles in support of the Core, in case there's some solid evidence out there chronicling their worth, but also to see what new yarns are being spun about these fabulous standards so we can go about systematically debunking them.
These were the first two paragraphs of the article:
When I read reports like that of my colleague Kathleen Porter-Magee’s “Is there anything ‘common’ left in Common Core” I’m reminded why I like spending time with real educators and teachers in Ohio. Kathleen’s post provides a brutally concise and accurate summary of the political fights now swirling around the Common Core academic standards. She offers a glimpse into what rabid critics on both the far Right and Left are saying about the effort. The various ravings are epitomized by Susan Ohanian (whoever that is) claim that “the reality is that if people who care about public education don't find a way to fight [the Common Core standards], public schools are dead—and so is democracy.”)
But, in the heartland the conversations are very different and far more practical. Out here the issues aren’t political. Rather the talk focuses on how can educators most effectively implement the Common Core standards to improve instruction for students.
My family lives in Ohio. I live in Oklahoma. Though I (and my kids) love Ohio, Ohio is NOT the heartland, nor will it EVER be the heartland - maybe especially because it's IN THE EASTERN PART OF THE COUNTRY - but also not from the perspective of a born and bred Okie. I could go into a veritable essay on why Ohio isn't the "heartland", but I would digress, so let us push forward.
Here are the first two paragraphs of what 'is working' according to author Terry Ryan.
- Educators see the “big picture,” the “global” problems that the Common Core aims to address, i.e. U.S. students’ lackluster performance among their international competitors and the large number of high-school graduates who are not prepared for college or a career.
- A common language around the Common Core is being widely used. To a person, the educators spoke of ‘rigor and relevance,” “formative assessments,” “short cycle assessments,” “formative instructional practices,” “professional learning communities,” “curriculum-based assessments,” “curriculum alignment,” “curriculum maps,” “project-based learning,” “portfolio-based assessments,” “higher level thinking,” “performance-based testing” and “critical thinking skills.”