Thursday, December 10, 2009

Am I Imagining it, or is this a Condescending and Dismissive Tone?

Common Core State Standards Initiative: Summary of Public Feedback:

Respondents conceptually embrace the idea of “fewer, clearer, higher” standards. However, most also suggest the standards be expanded in one or more areas. Respondents suggested dozens of topics that could also be added or expanded, but rarely is it suggested that a topic be eliminated or minimized. Among the topics suggested to be added to the standards are 1) civic readiness; 2) applied learning; 3) awareness of author strategies; 4) collaboration; 5) oral and written language development specific to disciplines; 6) the way that gender, race, class, and culture shape our textual interpretations; 7) ability to navigate in a digital world; 8) differences in formal and information rules among forms of genres; 9) topics and research questions; 10) flexible writing processes; 11) reading for pleasure; 12) viewing skills; and 13) vocabulary development.

There is a predictable relationship between a respondent’s expertise and his or her suggestions. Writing teachers want more specificity about the process, types, and purposes of writing woven into the Common Core State Standards; librarians tend to be more sensitive to the opportunities and demands created by the online environment; and reading teachers offer much more detailed and specific standards related to teaching reading.

Overall, the document reads like it was written by the people who worked on the math standards. One gets the impression that having to deal with those other standards is just an annoying distraction from the real work on mathematics. I mean, they constantly refer to the "English Language Arts" standards. There are no proposed common standards for English Language Arts. They do not exist! There are "reading, writing, and speaking and listening" standards, which are, in some undefined but apparently necessary way, different.

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