Take What You Need and Leave the Rest…

I recently read another blog about the Common Core (uh oh, he said a bad word) that read, “I was naive about the Common Core.”
As I read I swore the words came out of my own mouth. What a great idea, student-centered learning, spiraling standards to build and gradually develop, getting students ready for college (at least community college.)
How can this be bad? They took the outrageously long set of standards we had here in NJ and simplified them down to the key concepts a student should know, right?
As time goes on and more information is dispersed about them, I start scratching my head. I work in a very good school, but we are very small. When the standards were going to be adopted we started looking into them. I didn’t get a book or an assessment that said “this is the CCSS.” I had the standards as I read an interpreted them. I built my curriculum around that and i was happy with the change.
Fast forward three years. Book companies have put out their “aligned” materials, companies pushing out testing materials, and I feel like everyone has lost their minds.
When I look at the material and listen to the opposing sides debate, I feel like I was way off base. Surely I couldn’t have been so wrong about what the handful of standards that comprise the CCSS.
I realized, I don’t care what the publishing companies say. I haven’t “followed a series” in my teaching career. Why start now?
I decided that those are simply resources. Like all of the old resources I have drawn on from over the years, they are pick and choose. When it fits what I want, take it, if not then leave it and make it yourself!
The standards are ok,if you treat the materials associated with them (the things people make money on) as just another option. If the work isn’t valuable, don’t do it! Teach with a brain! Following a series is not going to make your students better, teaching them with best practices is how they will grow! Teachers should be the interpreters of the standards, no matter what they say!

Thanks for Reading.


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