“..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?