Olney: Let me read you from some "kid friendly" Common Core standards that were distributed in a school here in California. This is for kindergarten:
I can use capitalization, punctuation and spelling when willing. I can use prepositions when I talk to tell where. I can capitalize the first word in a sentence (maybe you could understand that one). I can recognize and name punctuation, and write a letter for each sound." Are those questions that kids six years old should be able to answer?
Petrilli: Some of those do sound a little out of whack, and frankly don't sound to me like they're actually coming from the Common Core. If you look at what the Common Core is expecting, it is mostly expecting, especially little kids, to learn content. And there's been a big uproar about that. There are educators out there who say, there's a curriculum out there for example having first graders learning about Mesopotamia. And people say "how could they possibly learn about Mesopotamia? Well, they may not be able to read that word yet, but they can certainly listen to a story about Mesopotamia, and be very interested in what happened in the past in history. Again, these are kids who love hearing stories. I know my son could spend all day learning about knights, or learning about dinosaurs, and I'm sure he would be turned on to Mesopotamia if his teacher gave it a try. And it's that kind of information that helps young kids learn about the world, and also give them the vocabulary that will eventually allow them to be strong readers. [see a discussion about the Mesopotamia lessons in New York here]
And that is one of the key places we are falling down. Particularly for low income kids, we are not equipping them with the vocabulary they need to make sense as they get older and they read more and more complicated texts.
Olney: I have to contradict you with regard to the standards that I read. This is the "Kids-Friendly Common Core Standards," and we checked them against the Common Core web site, and they are in fact being distributed by the Common Core. One of the things they say that a kindergartner ought to be able to do is to distinguish between fiction and non-fiction. Is that a pretty high standard for a kid of six?
Petrilli: No, I don't think so at all. You ask a six year old is this story a make-believe story or is this something that actually happened - that's certainly a concept they can handle.
Petrilli doesn't seem to know what is in the standards at all, doesn't seem to agree with them, and he's perfectly happy to dish out bald-faced lies about the role of content in the standards. I don't understand how they think this is going to continue to play out. Don't they think anybody else has read the standards either?