Common Core Insights

questions-e1378747013637The myths about the common core are causing a great deal of confusion around how it will be implemented. First, the core are standards of learning, something to align our scattered system of standards based education with so if Amy moves from Georgia to Maine she will have met the requirements of the third grade and not find herself repeating the third grade because she didn’t.

Many are investigating how much propaganda there is in the literature of grammar worksheets, and it is a good thing to carefully examine what our children are reading. Yet, keep in mind the districts choose curriculum, not the federal government. Teachers are given the alternative to choose complex texts that lead to meeting common core requirements that provide the opportunity to “write from sources”. That is a simple way of saying use the text to learn about a fish, take notes about the fish’s characteristic, so a descriptive paragraph can be written, not a story about Dorothy (Elmo’s fish). For years we have provided our students with creative writing opportunities that have not given them a foundation to becoming strong writers.

We need to see the common core as a recipe for learning. We all have recipes for chocolate cake, though the ingredients vary there are some that must be in the mix or the cake will fall apart. It is the same with the common core. These standards are both guidelines and strategies for us to align our teaching  and learning expectations with – the I CAN statements are skill builders, not some higher level bureaucrat infiltrating out educational curriculum. Yes, do review the materials your child is reading, but sometimes a book choice or grammatical sentence is just a sentence – not a political statement.

We need to be careful what we convey to our children about the common core, it is here to stay and if we stay focused on the objective to make our children college ready, academically excellent, and self regulated learners we will increase their self efficacy to accomplish the demanding tasks and challenges ahead.