CoCoLoCo for Common Core Standards [A Conversation in Earnest]

Jose Vilson Education, Jose

Sonny Coco

Let me say it straight up: I’m tired of the Common Core standards talk. No, I’m not tired of the Common Core itself, but the talk. It’s easily ran by the word like “differentiation,” whizzed all over the phrase “workshop model,” and is about to stomp all over the word “collaborative” to boot. Everyone’s talking about it the way one might yell into an echo chamber: yeah, it sounds awesome, but after a while, there’s no purpose for the echo besides the echo itself. As you’re reading this and didn’t click the link above, or haven’t been a fan of this blog longer than a month, you probably don’t know what the hell I’m talking about.

There’s now a 30% chance that I don’t either. It’s why the first two letters in the words “Common” and “Core” are CoCo. As in CoCoLoco.

One thing I do know that the Common Core that I’ve looked at takes after other countries, moving down some standards to lower grades and simplifying the quantity of standards to get deeper into them. You can’t just skim over the paragraphs in the front, read the list of standards and think you get what the think tank who created this are trying to convey. You actually have to play with it and know it. Some administrators and network leaders have already taken to their usual tactics of saying something louder to act like they know something.

Thank goodness your favorite blogger learned long ago how to defend against that. There are two simple things teachers across the nation can do to prevent others from insisting what you should think about (especially about the Common Core Standards):

1. Read them.

2. Make them real for you.

(Bonus: Feel free to read what others are saying about it, too. Just found out about this.)

If not, you’re going to get stuck in meetings where people throw it at you with no regard for how to make them effective in the classroom or why they’re so much better than what we have currently. (They are, but I’ll let you decide that.) Some of the people I’ve worked with in this work have been rather instrumental in my engagement with the material, but I’ve also been part of discussions where, despite the insistence of content specialists in the room, administrators and district leaders felt it was their right to defend the Common Core, even when they haven’t read any substantial piece of the standards.

If you don’t follow my advice on this stuff, because I’m still learning it too, then you’re gonna be CoCoLoco. And we still have a good four more years until we actually start assessing this way. Good luck.

Jose, who doesn’t want people to get things mistaken: Coco Loco is neither Coco Rico or Cocoa Puffs. Promise.