Common Core Standards

Reading is more than it use to be.
Flickr Photo (Thinks to do While Traveling by Train) by Akbar Simonse

Thanks to Tom Hoffman for getting the word out about The Common Core State Standards Initiative from the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers.  They are attempting to establish a common core of state standards in English-language arts and mathematics for grades K-12. 

These standards will be research and evidence-based, internationally benchmarked, aligned with college and work expectations and include rigorous content and skills.

OK!  That one sentence takes care of just about every buzz-key known to humankind, intended to evoke action — with the possible and seemingly unimportant exception of helping people in my country to just plain be happy and self-fulfiled.  I guess if we win the globalization contest, then we’ll be happy.

Enough of being cynical.  I just read through the eighteen reading standards, which were fairly standard and manila in nature.  Nothing much that’s new, which is what concerns me.  Most of the eighteen seemed to be continuing with an out-dated notion that being able to read it and understand it (and answer questions about it) is literacy.  The only two standards that touch on the importance of questioning and validating what you read are 13…

Ascertain the origin, credibility, and accuracy of print and online sources.

and 14…

Evaluate the reasoning and rhetoric that support an argument or explanation, including assessing whether the evidence provided is relevant and sufficient.

As more and more of the information that we use on a daily basis is not necessarily handed to us by trusted providers, it seems to me that the skills involved in finding the evidence of the information’s reliability, validity, and appropriateness should be integrated up and down the line, 1 through 18.

I would also urge developers to include, as a reading skill, the ability to locate information to be read.  If my children can not skilled in use something like Google to find information that is appropriate to what they are trying to achieve, then I might prefer that they not be able to read it.

I know that this all comes under what is commonly referred to as media skills.  But I think that this is core — as core as reading.  And it needs to be a part of any set of standards that include the ability to read.

Thanks again to Tom for sharing this…

Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.