What do you think?

Today someone asked the following question: if you’re not in favor of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), then what standards would you propose we replace them with? Although my response below started out somewhat tongue-in-cheek, it has made me think about what it is I really believe.

If it were up to me, I would say no standards.

Instead, I would have the kids brainstorm their passions, those things they would really like to study.
Then, I would categorize these with a group of colleagues.
Next, I would lay out all of the things (S&B’s) that students would be learning if they were allowed to study their passions.
Along with this, would be all of the things teachers would be teaching that would help students study what they are truly interested in.
Of course, there are other things I would do like reading and writing workshop, etc.
Finally, I would present this to your principal. If you did a cross check of this with established standards I bet you would hit all of them and then some.
Hmmm…Maybe I’ll do this with my ESL kids just to see what happens…

It’s not that I don’t believe in standards. Rather, I believe in kids. I also believe that teachers working together have the professional knowledge and expertise to know what is important for kids to learn. And, of course, there are the kids themselves who can tell us what they need to get better at. We also have professional organizations that have given us excellent standards over the years – NCTM, NCTE/IRA, etc. So, why do we need something created by non-educators? Why do we trust these standards more than our own knowledge? Why do we need a rigid set of goals that all students must master by a certain grade level?

I know. I know. What about new teachers? Well, what about them? That is why there is a collective of teachers, new and experienced, to help sort this out.

This is out loud thinking, and it’s very rough. It’s not a typical SOL but it captures a moment in the timeline of my evolving thinking so I think it qualifies. What are your out loud, rough thoughts on this issue??

Cross posted to March Slice of Life Challenge, Day #6.

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