I just completed an article in Ed Week magazine with the following title written by Laura Thomas. As in many things a good title will grab you in and like Thomas indicates in her article, the monster doesn't really exist, it just get's us all worked up. So it is with the Common Core.
The 'Monster' at the End of the Common CoreBy Laura Thomas
I believe in balanced delivery, differentiation, "wholistic" approaches to education. Why? Well, if I were to sit down and talk with Daniel Goleman about my processes, he would indicate that it is because of my EI/IQ, you see after raising children and being a very involved parent, my EI/IQ would be a major impetus to the way I think. If I were to sit down with Dewy, it would be because of my pragmatic nature. The biggest reason that I would attribute my strong commitment to a "commom core" approach to education comes from my years of experience trying to reach those kids who fall between the cracks. They do not test out as special needs kiddo's and they are not the more advanced, or rather, "average kiddo's" Rather they are the gifted and talented overlooked because of social stratifiers, or they are the disengaged learner.
While working with Chicago Hts., SD 170, I had the luxury to be working under a program called, America's Choice for School Design. It was wonderful. At first I was a process that was unmanageable. But, I had a Superintendent and a Principal who demanded fidelity to the program. Their clear, unwavering expectations made it possible to navigate through the first year only to look forward to the send, third and beyond. I still use the routines and rituals set forth by this program. It has solidified my educational philosophy and guess what? It is the common core! It demands a balanced approach to delivery. It no longer isolates curriculum. No longer can a teacher say, "I teach English, math, history, etc." It demands that the educator's first response be "I teacher children how to be effective contributors to the WHOLE!"
America's first step towards embracing a global reality is to begin to recognize that while we are divided up into 50 states, and many municipalities, we are first and foremost Americans. We no longer have the same cultural divides as we did 100 years ago. We are far more mobile, interconnected, and we are far more universal then we would like to imagine. We must have in place a system whereby children in the northeast are in fact equal to the children academically in the far southwest. We cannot stake that claim. This is the first real, and logical step towards embracing a universal understanding of what the truest role of public education is in this country. The word "Common" sets the stage for a common sense of awareness and removes the ambiguity in our school systems.
In closing; A Highly Talented Teacher, never has to worry about his or her lesson plans or curriculum, as they have been doing it right all along, and do not need mandates to show them how to impact their classrooms. .