The Common Core state standards reflect what we all believe students should learn: how to gather information about this world, synthesize it, evaluate it and present it to others. It is, however, a radical departure from our recent focus on rules and writing by numbers (when did you last see a “five-paragraph essay”in the real world?). This is a dramatic change.
Here in Davis, though, teachers began to grapple with these new demands some years ago, as they implemented new writing assessments at middle school. Many have attended workshops and shared teaching tips during the teacher work days. They are clearly committed to providing the best for our kids.
In many states and districts, this has not been happening: Teachers have been caught between being forced to teach to the old paradigm and the old tests while being told that they will have to change everything with little or no support.
While I am sympathetic to those who are panicked about these new standards, I believe that rather than criticizing them for being “too difficult,” those who are “(pouncing)” on the Common Core” should look to Davis, where teachers have been actively supported by the district as they explore how to best serve our students.