Families that Discuss together, stay together

Families that Discuss together, stay together
Families that Discuss together, stay together

Monday, August 26, 2013

Going Through the Hoops with Common Core

I don't know if you have listened to much of the hype about Common Core. I did, but I wasn't satisfied with the hearsay, so I did my own research earlier this year. I read the entire document's contents and found it to be just a list of certain abilities and skills dealing with each subject. There is no curriculum involved, only standards to be met. These standards are the basic fundamentals of reading, writing and arithmetic. The following are all the examples from the 8th grade literature standards:

Key Ideas and Details
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.1 Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.3 Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision.
Craft and Structure
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.5 Compare and contrast the structure of two or more texts and analyze how the differing structure of each text contributes to its meaning and style.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.6 Analyze how differences in the points of view of the characters and the audience or reader (e.g., created through the use of dramatic irony) create such effects as suspense or humor.
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.7 Analyze the extent to which a filmed or live production of a story or drama stays faithful to or departs from the text or script, evaluating the choices made by the director or actors.
  • (RL.8.8 not applicable to literature)
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.9 Analyze how a modern work of fiction draws on themes, patterns of events, or character types from myths, traditional stories, or religious works such as the Bible, including describing how the material is rendered new.
Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.10 By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, at the high end of grades 6–8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.

See, these are only standards of skill. Now, these being the standards, there must be a way to practice and measure these standards in some way and that brings us to curriculum. Since CC lets the states choose any way they want to get to these standards, the state then chooses the particular curriculum as the medium to "get" or to achieve these standards. Let's say for instance, a public school in your area chooses to read one of the Twilight Series books to "get" to these standards, but in Williamsburg Academy Online, they choose to read The Scarlet Letter, or Jane Eyre to get to these standards. You can imagine on the one hand, you are submitting your child to the bent and corruptness of Twilight while getting to the standards, while another mom has chosen WA for her child, who is submersing herself in the richness of great literature, of ideas, of morals, of self-awareness and the invitation it sends to join the ranks of all the Jane Eyre's of the world who say "Yes" to God and "no" to sin. Curriculum is what the parents have most control over when it comes to CC and that's the beauty of the whole thing.

Common Core only states a standard of learning, but it has nothing to do with how any one school needs to get there. Now, with that in mind, CC does not have all the beautiful standards that once were thought of as being great, like learning cursive, or learning to show our math-work in the old fashioned way (now a new way) or even the standards of character and self-analysis that once were so beneficial to a nation. So, because of the lack of those beautiful standards a parent has a choice to make. They either consign the responsibility over to a public school system nearest their home and allow any curriculum that will achieve the standards or they can seek for the best education that will use higher standards and higher morals that go well above the mediocrity and instill in their child a love of freedom and all those things that are good and necessary. 

What about the hype? The only thing I see about it, is that it's hype…just hype over false conclusions. The conservatives are weary of the liberals and anything the liberals say is "probably furthest from the truth." As in the case with CC, the conservatives are mostly crying over the lack of good standards and the horrible possibility of bad curriculum. They are absolutely right about that, but the thing that most people don't realize when they listen to today's conservative media shows is that both those things are completely controlled by the parents. The parents have total agency to put their children in a school they believe will deliver the best material (and usually those schools don't care much about the standards of CC…they just get them over with, even sometimes without the student even knowing they are accomplishing them, for the sole reason that they want the focus to be on the best and greatest and not on the mediocre). The parents also have total agency on teaching their child cursive and other "lost standards" they want to instill in their progenitors. 

This is my take and probably a lot more than you want to know, but I am passionate about getting people to look through the media and get their noses in the real documents. And as they do so, they will realize what they have control over and it is usually most of the control. This is a harsh and corrupt world in which we live, but if we are seekers of truth we will ALWAYS find it and feel FREE.
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