Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Common Core and Change

There seems to be a lot of ebb and flow to the power of Common Core.  States drop in, states drop out.  States sign up and refuse testing and where testing is being implemented, people opt out of testing.  In the latest move, NJ Gov has decided to pull New Jersey out of the Common Core.  While there are many questions that remain about the move, for instance when and how will it happen.  Christie also made it clear that standardized testing and teacher accountability would continue despite giving up the Common Core.  While many saw this as a victory for the opponents of the Common Core, I had many questions:

  • What would NJ use to replace the Common Core standards?
  • How would they make the transition to the next or old standards?
  • If Testing and Teacher accountability are to continue, how is that going to look and account for transition of standards?
As per usual, these are issues and considerations that don't seem to make it into the public but i am curious as to how we can get people to think about process, procedure, and protocol of how schools are governed and forced to change.  What do you all think?

Gov Chris Christie from Time.com

Time.com Article - Link here

Friday, June 5, 2015

Current Events: Nonacademic Skills

How do we help our kids? What are the best ways to conceptualize the different ways that we try to cultivate skills and learning in our students.  Even when I worked as a teacher, I noticed that in my schools we, the teachers, often had similar goals but went about them in different ways and often used different techniques and different terminology around these topics.  While it is tempting to embrace unifying these terms and the efforts of this work, would doing so take away teacher autonomy and ignore students' needs?  The NPR Article does a good job laying out the different terms and what they mean so I will skip that.  What I am interested in is, how are teachers managing these different concepts and how are we expecting them to manage all of these terms?

Link to the Article - And Definitions of the terms and concepts

Teachers and schools will often not think about making ideologically consistent choices when they make decisions.  Teachers live in a pragmatic world and they make decisions about the students in front of them and for their classroom.  This isn't a fault of theirs, its a reality.  Teachers will use the terms and concepts that they feel comfortable with and they need to do to the best for their students.  Given the different concerns and challenges of the classroom, and teachers feeling overwhelmed, it isn't fair to impose ideological consistency when the academy and media can't be held to the same standards!

Is it fair to ask for ideological/philosophical consistency from our teachers given this reality of their job?  What do you think?