I don’t know Robert Fried, but I certainly hope to. The tag for this oped says that he is “recently retired as director of the Upper Valley Educators Institute in Lebanon. He is the author of ‘The Passionate Teacher’ and ‘The Game of School,'” two books that have just moved to the top of my reading list. Read the whole thing, here. Now. But here is a taste:
….Enter the Common Core. At the point where many enlightened educators and concerned parents were despairing of the political fights over “No Child Left Behind” and its emphasis on high-stakes testing, and when our children were facing weeks of filling in bubble sheets with no apparent connection to their own learning styles or interests, a group of thoughtful educators accepted a daunting challenge – to put their heads together and decide what, for our time, is our best guess as to what all children should be learning, grade by grade, in our public schools.
….if we accept that the Common Core is a serious attempt by some of our best teachers to balance the need for consistency with the desire for flexibility and personalization – in an effort to say, for our time, that “this is what we want our children to know” – then perhaps we should stop fighting it and learn to make it work for us, as teachers, parents and students. Here are some of the things we can try:
As students: ….Ask your teacher to help the class talk about each standard and try to put it into “kid language.”
As parents: Get a copy of the Common Core and read it, perhaps get together with other parents and invite a teacher or principal in to talk about it….
As teachers: …..Form a small study group with colleagues to talk about the implications of the Core and the testing that goes with it….invite our students into the conversation…..
Here’s how Harrison Little, a teacher in his first year in a public middle school, decided to approach this challenge:….
…for this great classroom story, go here, to Common sense about the Common Core in the Concord Monitor.