Every time I hear Doug Reeves speak it’s a bit like a whirlwind of research data, passion, and challenge in brief package. In fact, one Reeves workshop could fill ten blog posts and 50 tweets. Among many other topics at a recent workshop in Nashua, NH, he spoke of the Common Core standards which have just been released. Education Week has just asked Reeves to review the standards and offer his opinion. His positive points:
- K-5 grade level articulation. Reeves appreciates the work done at the elementary level. There is solid integration between grade levels unlike most standards documents which are so subject matter specific.
- Clear endorsement of performance assessments. Perhaps we may finally move away from the predominance of multiple choice exams as a way of proving student, school, and district achievement.
- Solid emphasis of nonfiction reading and writing. Through the years, elementary teachers have had a bias toward particular curriculum areas, such as environmental science and fiction reading and writing.
Of course, in New Hampshire we have a hard time accepting anyone’s edict, (Live Free or Die after all). Gary Stager quotes Alfie Kohn (who’s really a Bean Town Boy) as saying,
“There’s a strong political interest in representing national standards as being merely “core” standards and to emphasize that the feds aren’t driving it (just funding it!)…I’m troubled by the P.R. campaign I see: We’ll satisfy the politicians and corporations that want “rigorous, specific, enforceable, clear, defined standards” — but we’ll also reassure teachers that we won’t tell you how to teach. This doesn’t add up.”
I remember when Ronald Reagan wanted the Federal Department of Education to go away in a victory of states’ rights. It appears that Presidents G.W. Bush and Obama have at least one view in common: they want increased educational power in the hands of the feds.