Saturday, January 07, 2012

The Disciplinary Literacy High School

One of the weird things about the Common Core Standards Initiative all along has been that it has simultaneously been presented as revolutionary and non-controversial. Both a logical extension and condensation of a couple of decades of standards writing led by Achieve, Fordham, etc., and something new.

I think they've actually pulled this off at the high school level. The Common Core High School would be centered around disciplinary literacy in a way that I don't think anybody has tried, and perhaps has never even really been described. If so, I haven't seen it. But here are the sets of Common Core standards relevant to high schools, slightly rephrased:

  • Math;
  • literacy (reading and writing generic informational texts);
  • disciplinary literacy in English (reading and writing about literature);
  • disciplinary literacy in Science;
  • disciplinary literacy in History/Social Studies

The school as a whole and individual teachers will all be accountable for those. There may also be other national, state or local standards in these and other disciplines, but there will always also be the core.

Let me put it this way -- under this regime shouldn't the most important goal of a Science department should be preparing their students to read college science texts and write well about science texts? If you really designed a school around this system it would probably be different than any school that has ever existed, and nobody has any idea what the kids would look like at the end.


doyle said...

We'll get a generation of students with a higher level of misunderstanding science, a generation of students who will perceive science as rhetoric.

But at least they'll be able to pronounce adenosine triphosphate correctly....

Anonymous said...

Reading and writing ABOUT literature? Gag me. How about reading and writing literature?

Tom Hoffman said...
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