What does it mean to be ‘aligned to the Common Core?’
Did you know that…
- Google Apps can help you ‘launch a stress-free implementation of the Common Core’s required technology components?’
- these 5 apps will help your kids meet the new Common Core standards?
- FASTT Math is ‘the only fact fluency program to extend beyond math fact fluency practice into more rigorous Common Core objectives?’
- ‘Great Books programs meet Common Core standards?’
- these student center activities are ‘aligned to the Common Core?’
- all of these Pinterest resources are ‘aligned with specific Common Core standards?’
- every one of McGraw-Hill’s ‘core math, reading, and language arts programs fully align with the Common Core?’
- you can watch video clips of ‘Common Core-aligned teaching and learning?’
- NWEA ‘has developed a set of MAP assessments aligned to the Common Core?’
- you can get access to ‘the world’s first and only on-demand, comprehensive training on the Common Core standards?’
- all of these software programs are ‘aligned to the Common Core,’ even Timez Attack?
- you can ‘become a Common Core Black Belt?’
- the new SimCity video game will ‘conform with the Common Core?’
As expected, with the advent of the Common Core we are seeing a lot of labeling and re-labeling of instructional materials, resources, and activities. Publishers are adding the Common Core designation to existing textbooks, resources, assessments, and professional development opportunities just as fast as they can. Educators are unpacking the Common Core and affirming to themselves that they’re already doing what the standards expect. Lots of Common Core hoopla. Lots of Common Core assurances. Lots of old educational wine in new Common Core bottles…
Plus, of course, lots of gratuitous Common Core labeling and hucksterism. Because if it’s not stamped ‘Common Core’ these days, hardly anyone’s going to look at it.
We have the standards. And publishers’ criteria. And state and school district certification efforts. But we also have lots of confusion, including whether or not teachers are prepared or unprepared to implement the standards.
As we sort out that confusion – and as we work together to become better prepared for implementation of the Common Core juggernaut – we need to be critical consumers of both our own lessons and the vendor pitches that accompany the standards. Because if there’s anything that policy-level folks agree on, it’s usually that the Common Core is supposed to be different. Very different.
- If the math in a ‘Common Core aligned’ textbook looks like the math you experienced as a student, put it down.
- the traditional US mathematics curriculum must become substantially more coherent and focused
- “I’m scared of rewarding bullsh*t,” Coleman told me…. “I don’t think it’s costless at all.” By bullsh*t, Coleman means the sort of watered-down curriculum that has become the norm in many American classrooms. [statement censored by me so as to better enable passage through draconian school Internet filters]
Of course if we absorb the Common Core into what we’ve always done without substantially changing anything – and this is extremely likely given our history – then things won’t be different at all. We know from past experience that standards usually don’t change instruction much. Neither do they change the day-to-day learning experiences of most children. Implementation always trumps wishes. Regardless of the rhetoric accompanying the Common Core, our historically high rates of reform assimilation indicate that what kids do in school on a daily basis is unlikely to be very different in most places. As Richard Elmore notes,
Internal accountability precedes external accountability and is a precondition for any process of improvement.
What does it mean to you for things to be ‘Common Core aligned℠?’ [Although Common Core chief architect / circus barker David Coleman believes that "people really don't give a sh*t about what you feel or what you think", I do.] Perhaps more importantly, what are you and your fellow educators doing to avoid old wine in new bottles?
P.S. Never fear. This blog post is Common Core-aligned℠. See ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.8.