We share Core Knowledge’s concern about the lack of specific content in the draft “Common Core” standards. But to call them “dead on arrival” is premature. This effort is too coordinated, too strategically smart, and has too much momentum to be dismissed out of hand.
As they are currently written the “Common Core” ELA standards are poised to repeat NCLB’s mistakes. NCLB has failed to increase reading achievement in any sustained way because it has approached reading purely as a skill and driven the study of literature and other core subjects from the classroom. The current draft of the ELA standards also overlooks the key role that substantial content plays in teaching students to read.
NGA and CCSSO clearly want their effort to be successful. So hopefully they will make the necessary revisions to their standards to make them work. This means providing clear guidance and examples of the kind of novels, non-fiction works, poems, and plays that students should read. That is undoubtedly the advice many of the effort’s feedback reviewers—and the larger public—will provide. And it is what Common Core told NGA in a meeting earlier this week.
The “Common Core” effort, while traveling at a fast pace, is still in its nascent stages. Condemnations are premature.