If Every Other Word Out Of Your Mouth Is “Common Core”, You’re The Problem

Jose Vilson Jose

Oh come on now! Really, Kentucky? REALLY?!

Oh come on now! Really, Kentucky? REALLY?!

Do me a favor and stop it. Just stop it, you.

Yes, you.

You’re ridiculous now. Every other word out of your mouth is “Common Core.” That’s enough out of you.

I’m all for people having a voice, a seat at the table, and entitlements to opinions and such, but you’re not going to sit there and use the words “Common Core” 58 times in a meeting and not have me either burst out laughing, walking out for a break every 20 minutes, or worse, throw you an eye roll.

I get it, too. The Common Core State Standards, by many accounts, is an internationally benchmarked set of standards developed by coalition consisting of governors, education professors, and other people interested in seeing the United States compete academically with the best and brightest from countries all over the world instead of the middling status we’ve had for decades. I get that it proffers a certain amount of authority and gravitas, in “If you think this is just another fad, but it’s not. It’s going to stay, we’re going to do this all the way, and there’s no turning back” sorta way.

Except, for the classroom teacher, none of that resonates.

For the classroom teacher, the act of planning lessons, teaching those lessons, observing and recording student behavior, grading papers, and reflecting on our practice stays consistent, no matter how often you drill the words “Common Core” into the zeitgeist.

For the classroom teacher, few of us actually know what it is. A few of us think it makes our work easier than our original individual-state standards do. Some others think it might be complete crap but that we’re just going to ride with it because we teach … for a living. Others still just want to see what the publishers do with the assessment, because the things they’ve done with the textbooks have thrown everyone for a loop including the CCSS creators themselves!

For the classroom teacher, the best bet, as has always been, is to focus on professional development in a meaningful way, with teachers actually having more natural discussions amongst each other about students and the assignments we give them without feeling like we need to listen to the Marzano-DuFour-Danielson crowd anymore.

I’m not here to delineate between who’s real and who’s not, either. I’m just saying that you look disingenuous when you see something that might look exciting / rigorous / difficult to you and say, “Oh look, Common Core.”

I get it, too. If you don’t use the word “Common Core” a lot, don’t speak for or against it, you risk irrelevance. Like, look at these people over here really engaging in “the work” (few people define it to start) and you’re not, so you’re not Common Core aligned and you belong over in this corner. Way over here. Like an imaginary dunce cap.

But if you’re willing to engage in the Common Core zealotry (on either side) that I’ve seen, maybe you ought to find another cause to feel this passionately about, like how kids learn.

Alas.

Jose, who’s finding moments of honesty more often than not …

source for image: http://bluegrasspolicy-blog.blogspot.com/2010/07/fordham-study-trashes-education.html