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Philosophical Meanderings

Is It the Standards Fault that They Worry Me?

“..but this is what I teach my college students…”  My mother, who is an English professor, is looking at the new 5th grade common core standards.  I shake my head, sigh, and realize that I now have another mountain to climb when it comes to making school relevant, engaging, and exciting for students.

 

I have been hesistant to blog about the Common Core Standards, after all, this is my first year truly dealing with them and the prescribed curriculum that seems to come with them.  And yet, something keeps nagging me whenever I stumble upon them.  Something keeps bugging me at a deeper level than just the “Oh, it’s another change in education…” type of way.

Perhaps it is the curriculum that is now promising us to be even more rigorous in all of its alignment.  It seems to say that I wasn’t rigorous before or that we just dallied around in previous years, not to be trusted when left to our own devices as teacher.

Perhaps it is the illusion that all schooling in the 45 states that have adopted them will now be an equal education.  Never mind that the educational inequity continues to grow with less and less funding from states and that students are now poorer than they have even been.

Perhaps it is the illusion that my students are actually developmentally ready for the things I am  now expected to have them do.  Yes we infer in 5th grade, but to infer themes between two types of stories based on their text features and perspective is pretty crazy stuff. And indeed, as expressed by my mother, college level.

Perhaps it is not the standards that are to blame for my hesitance but rather the interpretation of them from textbook companies who have been so very quick in creating common core aligned curricula.  More script, less creative thinking seems to be the standard.  And districts are buying it, literally, hand over foot.

Whatever it is that is nagging me, I know it deserves more think time, more deep analysis, much like the standards themselves.  I have yet to pass my full judgment, but I stand here hesitant  wondering how this now will effect my students in the coming years.  Will they continue to dislike writing in a more scripted curriculum or will they all of a sudden have such brain growth brought on by the right standards that I wont believe my own eyes?  I don’t know but I wonder.  Do you?

 

 

 

 

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About Pernille Ripp

I am a passionate 5th grade teacher in Middleton, Wisconsin, USA, proud techy geek, and mass consumer of incredible books. Creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, Co-founder of EdCamp MadWI, and believer in all children. I have no awards or accolades except for the lightbulbs that go off in my students' heads every day. First book “The Passionate Learner - Giving Our Classroom Back to Our Students Starting Today” will be released this fall from PLPress. Follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.

Discussion

One thought on “Is It the Standards Fault that They Worry Me?

  1. I try to view any content standards not as a script, which is borderline insulting, but as a tool to ensure breadth of instruction and a resource to track and document student progress. Having said that, I spend most of my time with them playing ‘copy & paste’ to unit plans, and often on a very ‘close enough’ basis. I’ve never taught in an environment which demanded that certain materials be used in certain ways, like adopted textbooks, but I can imagine how discouraging that would be. On the topic of students’ current skills, it may be worth having the 4th grade standards handy for catch-up or differentiation.

    Posted by Bart Miller | March 24, 2013, 9:57 am

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