Uncommon to the Core

Scott McLeod has a good post titled What does it mean to be ‘aligned to the Common Core?’. Here’s an excerpt:

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…


McLeod points out that this reaction is expected, which means that people are taking the Common Core shift seriously. We can argue about whether they should have been bigger, smaller or even created in the first place, but the bottom line is that it’s a standard that will change education in America, probably for the better.

It will take years to achieve the better-education objectives of the standard, and in a diverse state-based education environment like ours, there will be many paths pursued in an attempt to get there. We shouldn’t be surprised that some of what we’re already teaching is in the Common Core, but McLeod’s message of buyer beware is always warranted.

Beth, a curriculum writer for her school district points out in the comments of McLeod’s post:

Aligning to the CCSS requires in depth curriculum study, a thorough understanding of the standards and how they build upon each other….While many strategies and practices can support implementation of the standards, if you don’t spend time really unpacking the indicators, and closely examining the language used (yes, do a close reading of those standards!) then you can use all the aligned materials you want and your students will never achieve the skills expected from the CCSS.

It’s a once in a generation opportunity to re-examine what we’re teaching, how we’re teaching it, and whether we’re achieving success. Thankfully, we’ll have a boatload of medicines4all.com education watchers giving us the play by play, as messy and uncommon as it might be.