Wednesday, January 02, 2013

It is Unfortunate that Nobody at Common Core has (the back of) an Envelope Handy to Do Some Quick Calculations

Tim Shanahan:

Finally, the counting problem is something I have wanted to write more about since last I broached the subject. I explained the problems with counting words, pages, or selections. Sue Pimentel, one of the authors of common core, wrote to me (I will soon print some parts of our communication on this) indicating that this division is expressed in terms of time. Thus, we are speaking less about a program or a set of materials, and more about student experience.

OK, let's just sketch this out. Four weeks, an hour a class, 20 hours total per subject. High school.

  • ELA: 12 hours on reading (we're emphasizing more writing, remember?) 9/3 lit./non-fiction.
  • History/SS: 8 hours on reading primary sources (2/5th of class time).
  • Science: 4 hours on reading technical texts (20% of the new curriculum).
  • Math: 2 hours a month on math-specific reading skills.
  • Electives (gym, art, music, etc): 4 hours a month.

That's your 70/30 split. Doesn't look too bad from the English teacher's perspective. Not sure about everyone else though. Of course, every time you do a science lab you can just jot down all the time as covering:

Follow precisely a complex multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks attending to special cases or exceptions defined in the text.

One of the real problems with bringing up the percentage of this or that in the standards is that it just throws teachers into compliance mode. It is very difficult to get anything here between "We're already doing this," and "These are changes so sweeping and profound you tiny mind cannot comprehend them (without my consulting services)."

The crazy thing is that nobody at any of the institutions backing CC with their millions can be bothered to write down something like this example.

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