Sonny Coco

CoCoLoCo for Common Core Standards [A Conversation in Earnest]

Jose 3 Comments

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.

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

Jose VilsonCoCoLoCo for Common Core Standards [A Conversation in Earnest]

Comments 3

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  3. Joanna Best

    These are good points and this is a funny post.

    It is definitely easier to take a true position on something when you have read it (kind of like I read Michelle Rhee’s book and Wendy Kopp’s book).
    CCSS is a topic that people fear reading because
    1. it’s the principle of the thing (national standards. . .national curriculum??)
    2. some folks would rather resist because of what they know about how the CCSs was ushered in.
    Nevertheless, you are right. If we have to accept them, implement them, be talked at and to about them, we may as well accept that now so that any conversation about them can be an informed one.

    Thank you for this perspective and for making it OK, no better yet ENCOURAGED, to roll up the sleeves and get informed about what is going on around us. And if I’m going to go cocoloco I prefer it to be: A delicious drink with dark rum, light rum, vodka, creme de bananes, pineapple juice, coconut cream and sugar syrup. But of course coming from a family whose livelihood way back depended on the railroad, I can’t seem to get beyond the notion of CoCo as an arrangement of the wheels on a locomotive. How appropos. . .because I think the CoCo we are discussing here has taken off like a train for sure! And you are saying better get on board or get run over (for now anyway).

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