Not long ago, the loudest sound you could hear about the Common Core, especially the fairly rigorous writing standards, were protests that the standards were unattainable, that kids would never be able to think and write the way the standards described. Now, however, murmurs of success are growing louder. Take for example what’s been happening in Belle Chasse Primary School in Louisiana as described in this recent post on The Hechinger Report.
"Proponents of the change say an increased emphasis on analytical, evidence-based assignments will better prepare students for the kind of writing they will face in college and the workforce, where few will be asked to describe family vacations or write poems, but they could very well be asked to summarize a research paper or defend a project proposal....
"Belle Chasse Primary’s teachers say the more text-based, persuasive approach to writing has been helpful for students who don’t know where to start when faced with more open-ended questions or when asked to write a story. But it also requires a level of maturity and discipline for a 10-year-old to make an argument based largely — if not solely — on evidence from a reading passage."
Those of us who teach (or have taught) high school have often (whether fairly or not) looked at the grades below ours with some scorn: if only these kids had begun to learn … earlier. Now, apparently, the kids are beginning to learn, and the challenge will be for us high-school folks to pick up the ball and run it farther than even we’ve gone before. It won’t be an easy task, but it won’t be unachievable, either. As one commenter on the above article says:
"Its very simple. MORE writing with a good process is what develops good writers. We need to find ways that teachers can do more writing without penalizing themselves."
More writing, good process, and not penalizing teachers is what our new 9 – 12 series College and Career Readiness: Writing is all about. Lesson by lesson, step by step, we help you be the most effective teacher possible without adding still more hours to an already over-crowded work week.