Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Common Core Can Unite Us

I'm sure you're first thought at that title was that I've officially lost my mind. Not really. I do think it can unite us, but in a really wonderfully, delightfully unexpected way.

Someone shared a post with me: Top Ten Professors Calling Out Common Core's So-Called College Readiness. I'd never heard of any of these professors, so my top 10 is likely different from the blog posters' top 10. I get that.

Here's an interesting twist on college professors and their response to Common Core, their disdain for this movement and their pedantic observations. In 2012, there were a series of articles about college accountability, such as this one from The New York Times. (I can put together a full literature review, if you'd like so my sources aren't skewed nor prejudicial.) There have been murmurings of something akin to Common Core for colleges and universities for a couple of years now, though that's gained no traction. And then in August 2013, President Obama made a speech about college affordability and, yes, accountability. (Again, I can do a full literature review so my sources aren't skewed nor prejudicial.)

The ACT 2013 results are out. You can read The Reality of College Readiness report and view the scores. From this page at the ACT site:
Of the 31 states where 40% or more of their 2013 high school graduates took the ACT, in only 2 states did more than half of the graduates meet three or more ACT College Readiness Benchmarks. In another 8 states, 40%–49% of graduates met three or four Benchmarks.
In 16 states, 30%–39% of graduates met three or more ACT College Readiness Benchmarks in 2013, while less than 30% of graduates did so in 5 states. In no state did more than 56% of ACT-tested graduates meet three or four Benchmarks.
Common Core is not a perfect solution. Some veteran teachers see it as an antidote to NCLB.

Common Core could be a very small step towards education reform. Rather than bash it, often reflexively, perhaps we can use Common Core as the beginning of a conversation about real education reform.

What we want is kids who can think critically; reason analytically; and write, speak, and listen well, using evidence appropriately and effectively.

But however we approach education, perhaps with a single national voice enhanced by the harmonies of individual states, we have to work towards making sure our K-12 and college kids are not educated for a world that no longer exists, but educated to think and learn independently so they can build and improve the world in which THEY will live and love and hope and dream. And if we can get them to like, even love, learning, well, so much the better.

After all, education is about the kids. It's about the kids. It's always, always, always about the kids.

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