On Thursday, March 15, Common Core hosted a panel discussion titled “Truant from School: History, Science, and Art”. Among the topics discussed were the results of Common Core’s national survey of public school teachers titled “Learning Less“. Common Core also announced that we will be creating CCSS-based curriculum maps in history and geography.
Full video of the discussion will be available soon. Here are some outtakes from the event:
David Coleman, a founding partner of Student Achievement Partners and a lead writer of the CCSS in ELA.
[CCSS co-author] Sue Pimentel and I think if fundamental changes are not made to the quality of curriculum, and the quality of assessment, following the [CCSS], they will not have been worthy of the work that was put into them. Period.
There is no such thing as doing the nuts and bolts of reading in Kindergarten through 5th grade without coherently developing knowledge in science, and history, and the arts. Period. It is false. It is a fiction. And that is why NAEP scores in early grades can improve slightly but collapse as students grow older. Because it is the deep foundation in rich knowledge and vocabulary depth that allows you to access more complex text.
Let’s not get confused here that [the CCSS] are adding back nice things [history, arts, science] that are an addendum to literacy. We are adding the cornerstones of literacy, which are the foundations of knowledge, that make literacy happen.
There is no greater threat to literary study in this country than false imitations of literature which do not deserve to be read.
States in this first year of [CCSS] implementation, we beg you, to turn back mediocre or low-rate materials, rather than buy them stamped “Common Core.” If we must wait, it is better than to misrepresent the Standards with second-rate stuff. Please support states and districts in being brave and holding the line on excellence and giving time for a better generation of materials to take hold.
Lynne Munson, President and Executive Director of Common Core.
A sea change has occurred, largely unintended, that has stripped public education in America down to merely its nuts and bolts. We know students need a full education, particularly those who are perhaps unlikely to acquire knowledge of history, or the arts, or the wider world outside of the classroom. How can we use the levers of change available to educators right now, to bring some of these key subjects back into the curriculum?
Common Core is very happy to announce that – with the support of the Louis Calder Foundation – we will be creating a series of curriculum maps in history and geography. These maps will be based on content drawn from the best existing state social studies standards and they will address the new CCSS literacy standards in history and social studies. They will be a guide that elementary and middle school teachers can use to build their students’ knowledge in history andgeography as they address and reinforce standards. These new maps are another concrete step CC is taking toward addressing the problem of curriculum narrowing.
Carol Jago, a veteran teacher who has taught English in middle and high school for 32 years and directs the California Reading and Literature Project at UCLA. She is currently past president of the National Council of Teacher of English.
Across the nation, teachers say “I don’t have time to teach literature and literary nonfiction anymore” Why? Because the focus turns to the behaviors that students need to perform on assessments. What’s wrongheaded about this is that, with every fiber of my body, I know that the best prep for any kind of assessment in reading is to read and that students who read 20, 30, 40 books a year are probably going to have a pretty good vocabulary, understand complex syntax, and know what to do when they meet challenges in text.
The real heart breaking part of this though, is that the students who find themselves most often in the classes that are literature lite [and] reading lite, are those students who are most disengaged from school. So what are they experiencing? They experience a content-free curriculum. And the result is that instead of what we hope is a meaningful day in education, it’s meaning-less. And so it reaffirms these students’ belief that school is about nothing. English– that’s about commas and stuff– and that is the opposite of what those of us who love literature, love teaching students about literature, and love engendering those rich conversations about literature, would love to happen.
Lewis Huffman, Education Associate for Social Studies at the South Carolina Department of Education.
(Referring to Learning Less survey statistics) 71% of high school teachers surveyed said that students will have rad the Constitution by the time they graduate. My question is, but will they understand it? Another statistic, 92% of those teachers said students will know who fought whom in WWII. My question: But will they know why? And I think those are critical things.
Social Studies classes especially in Elementary schools have been reduced or eliminated. In [South Carolina] a couple of years ago we were talking about the possibility of eliminating social studies assessments. Within a week, I had teachers calling me, telling me that their school administrators werealready telling them “you don’t have to teach as much social studies” or “you maybe don’t have to teach social studies at all.”