The WOW! factor of CCSS

November4

Death and sarcasm

One of my students this year has a propensity to use the sarcastic “WOW,” when they get news they don’t like (like, “You need to re-do this work”). This is not meant as a complaint about a student, after all they are twelve years old, and I did volunteer to teach this sarcasm-rich age cohort. I’m noticing that I’ve picked up this verbal tic lately, and it struck me that there are many things about CCSS that bring out the sarcastic “WOW” from me. This is especially true those moments when folks are using the sarcasm-free version of “WOW,”  and its synonyms, to describe this whole-new-world of common-national, internationally-benchmarked-standards! OMG! Really!!!

I really don’t like bagging on my union, but I’ve got to say, if you’re coming up with “standards” as the answer to the question, “How to enable teachers to collaborate?” you are a more than a few fries short of a Happy Meal. I’ve been collaborating with teachers for eight years, and social media has “enabled” that, not some standard or pedagogy.  The secret is to not wait to be “enabled”, we’re social creature dammit, we’re born to collaborate.I’m just gonna shake my head and chuckle.

Here are some other moments that have made me chuckle (or LMAO) in the last few months:

From my favorite source of critical analysis of CCSS, Tom Hoffman at Tuttle SVC, the post is aptly named “Smell the Quality”:

To be honest, I’d forgotten why I get so sucked into these things.

Why is this a writing standard?

Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

And this a separate reading standard?

Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

Aside from the redundancy, the reading standard is the one that asks you to write or speak, while the writing standard does not.

If that sort of analysis appeals, make sure you go to that link to Robert Shepherd’s critique on Diane Ravitch’s blog, as it really dives into why these standards are not well designed. It’s from April, but stands the test of time (unlike the standards).

My husband (who doesn’t usually wade into this territory), sent me this link from the New Republic on how lexile levels are coming to dominate what’s a grade-level appropriate text:

Here’s a pop quiz: according to the measurements used in the new Common Core Standards, which of these books would be complex enough for a ninth grader?

a. Huckleberry Finn

b. To Kill a Mockingbird

c. Jane Eyre

d. Sports Illustrated for Kids’ Awesome Athletes!

Based on the links above, you can see why Common Core supporters in Florida are eschewing citing the standards while they argue for them. Sherman Dorn commentary on this (like many stories from Florida) is both sad and funny.
Good grief, folks, if you like the repeated and close reading ideas in the English/language arts standards, could you memorize a few of the standards and be willing to recite and defend them in public?
Finally, I’ll share a highly redacted account of Common Core madness from somewhere that is using EngageNY modules.
A teacher was told by her evaluator that the questions she was asking students about the text were not cognitively demanding enough, and that rote questions would not lead to higher level-thinking.
Wait for the punchline…
The questions were copied from the EngageNY module provided by the state/district that was supposed to be aligned to the standards.
Really, you can’t make stuff like this up. I’m looking forward to more as the implementation roll-out continues.

Image Credit:Death and sarcasm by quinn.anya, on Flickr

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