Wednesday, May 7, 2014

It's not the standards. It's what you do with them.

It seems like the debate over the Common Core State Standards is never ending. Are the standards good? Are they effective? Will they adequately prepare students for the rigors of college and the "real world?"

This great post by Jared Heath on the School Improvement Network gets to the heart of what will make or break the standards. The actions of dedicated professionals.

 "We cannot forget that our goal in education has ever been the same: to prepare children for the future. Our methods must necessarily change to meet the demands of our present and future conditions, but the goal remains the same. Standards and legislation, then, have a similar goal, which is to help teachers help students."

"Standards will never change students. Standards cannot change education. Changing students and education is the province solely of teachers—what, then, will we teachers do with the tools given us?"

I was discussing this with staff author Doug Grudzina the other day, and he mentioned something interesting. Whether you agree or disagree with the implementation, the organization, or the effectiveness of the standards, when you read the text of the standards, it's hard to disagree with the individual end goals of the standards-- no one would disagree that students  should:

"Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach."  (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.5)


"Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content." (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.2)

It's the implementation of the standards on the ground level -- in your classroom -- that's important. To help you with the process of implementing the writing standards, Doug has developed College and Career Readiness: Writing with the true end goal of the standards at heart. It's not about being able to check off a list of accomplishments to meet a minimum or pass a test, but truly using the framework of the standards to improve the process of teaching and learning writing. The 10th and 11th grade books are available now, and the 9th and 12th grade books are in layout right now and will be available this summer. To learn more and to get a free sample of College and Career Readiness: Writing, click here.

College and Career Readiness: Writing

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