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…

8 thoughts on “Common Core Standards”

  1. …and when it comes to finding and evaluating sources, will the blocking that occurs in school allow any of that to happen? Those of us who are trying to teach this face blocking of a large number of sites. For the record, we have discussed it with the district but the “we are required to meet the law” argument is thrown in our face.

  2. I agree with …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.

    In the past few years, with the information glut I am faced with daily, my reading “skills” have certainly evolved. I am a much more critical reader than I used to be. Our students will need to know how to do this.

    From what I have seen so far, common standards are still addressing the same old stuff.

  3. As a 7th grade teacher I am faced with the same dilema daily. My students think that Google is a source when they are required to site their sources. I have also been forced to put up a huge poster in my classroom that reminds students that they cannot site wikepedia as a source. I totally agree that in our new age of technology that research techniques should be included in the core standards at a younger age. I am curious at what age or grade level you think it should be taught?

    1. Why can’t we site a wikipedia page as a source? (probably a whole other post discussion)
      Wikipedia is a good first stop to get an idea what we are looking for. I never let my students use it as the only site.
      Wikipedia has been found to be more accurate than other encyclopedias.

  4. David,

    You, despite your personal charm and popularity, can’t fix bad ideas like national standards and the even more awful curricula AND STANDARDIZED TESTING that will quickly follow.

    You can only oppose the entire insane initiative.


    1. Gary,

      It’s a question that I’m hearing more and more these days as I work with schools and even larger concerns — “Can we fix it or should we just trash the current system and start over?”

      I admit that I don’t know the answer. I think that the latter (your answer) is probably the correct and most appropriate answer, if our mission is the prepare our children for their future. But, frankly, that scares me a bit. I’m not sure we could do that. I’m not sure we could make that leep. We have a president today with so much momentum based on his energy, vision, and the power of his compelling rhetoric of change that the Europeans have already awarded him a Nobel Peace prize — and still we’re struggling with the same old notions of schooling.

      I think, for now, I’ll just chip away at what is ludicrous about what we are doing right now — hopefully opening a few eyes to a different way of thinking about teaching, and learning, the needs of today’s children.

      1. David,

        Trust your instincts. Seriously, the “common” (re: NATIONAL) standards movement has nothing to do with the current system. Imposing more checklists and the inevitable standardized tests used as a weapon to enforce those “standards” are not about maintaining the status quo or in reinventing education. They are intended to bust unions, deprofessionalise teachers and privatize public schools.

        We know all there needs to be known about “fixing schools,” however this is impossible when terror is imposed by ideologues selling a simple message of standards.

        I completely agree with what my friend Seymour Papert began saying in 1990 during his speech at the World Conference on Computers in Education. As repressive systems feel like they are losing control they impose even greater repression in a desperate attempt to stay in power. What Seymour never anticipated was that billionaire Democrats and Barack Obama would play along.

        PLEASE read –

        How about educators rise up and say, “HOW DARE YOU?”


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