Friday, October 02, 2009

This Explains Why Texas Chose Not to Mess with Itself

The single awesome, beautiful thing about the proposed Common Standards in English is that almost everything you need to generate a comprehensive critique is handily hyperlinked in their appendix and hosted on their website. I've done a little independent surfing around but that was a waste. It is all in their own bibliography.

Up to this morning, I've focused on the international comparison, in part because the "international benchmarking" rhetoric is explicit and even enshrined in RttT, but also because, I've been to Finland, and I've been to Texas, and I like Finland a lot more.

But I did notice that Texas's "College Readiness Standards" is the only document which explicitly shares the goal of "college- and career-readiness" used by the Common Standards. However, the two documents couldn't be more different! Check this out:

In developing the CCRS, the VTs set out to specify the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in entry-level community college and university courses. The CCRS serve a different purpose than high school graduation standards, which typically emphasize mastery of basic skills and knowledge, and not necessarily college and career readiness. High school courses are designed to provide a broad set of core knowledge and skills and a foundation in literacy and basic mathematics. College courses typically require students to use content knowledge to weigh and analyze important issues and questions in a field of study. Even a high-quality college-preparatory curriculum is unlikely to prepare students to pursue a specific major in college. It can, however, help student develop a foundation of skills that they can employ to successfully pursue a variety of college majors. Therefore, the CCRS distinguish themselves from high school standards by emphasizing content knowledge as a means to an end: the content stimulates students to engage in deeper levels of thinking.

Basically, the two initiatives have the opposite conception of the relationship between "CCRS" standards and graduation standards. In the Common Standards, they seem to be a sub-set; in Texas, they're clearly a more demanding super-set.

Perhaps I can learn to appreciate Texas, which is, by the way one of the two states not going along with the whole Common Standards farce. Regardless, a longer, utterly devastating comparison will be coming soon...

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