NY State will conduct a formal review of the Common Core State Standards. I welcome the opportunity for a review. In my opinion, the more people talk about what should be taught in classrooms, the better.
Too often, we discuss education as an abstraction, polarizing around political issues largely irrelevant to kids and teachers at the ground level. What most impacts us on a daily basis is what is taught, and how. So while I would prefer we discussed the curriculum and content itself, talking about standards is at least a step closer to the heart of the matter.
As you may know, I’m a proponent of the Common Core Standards. I’ve advocated for them publicly, and I work with the standards in my daily practice.*
I advocate for the standards because I believe strongly in the need for shared, rigorous, and coherent standards. But that doesn’t mean I believe the standards, as written, are perfect.
If I Could Revise the Standards
Here’s what I would suggest as major points for revision of the ELA standards:
- Provide more explicit guidance within the literary standards for the study of poetry. (See Sandra Stotsky’s Curriculum Framework for a good model.)
- Overhaul the writing standards to include literary analysis as a genre of writing. Merge argumentative and informative/explanatory writing, as the distinction between those two is unclear and it’s of questionable value to distinguish them. Consider broadening the scope of narrative writing to that of creative writing, to include poetry.
- Clarify the meaning of the idea that literacy extends across all content areas, while reducing the stress on the oft misunderstood recommended percentages between informational and literary text. It should be less about pushing informational texts into ELA, and more about pushing the teaching literacy across science, social studies, and other content areas.
Others have also been saying that the Kindergarten standards need much revision. This is an area I’m less knowledgeable about, but I assume there’s some tweaking that should be done there, as well.
What aspects of the Common Core standards would you revise?
*I work (or have worked) with the standards in some of the following ways:
- my daily work as a special education ELA teacher, using them to develop and align my school’s curriculum and assessments, as well as to develop IEP goals (I began analyzing them more closely to break down the relevant knowledge, skills, and products for grades 6-8 to guide this work)
- my work with NYCDOE as a Common Core Fellow to assess teacher team submitted performance assessment tasks
- my work with LearnZillion to develop online videos, lessons, and resources aligned to the Common Core