Teaching and Learning History

NPR Story on Response to Common Core

  • 1.  NPR Story on Response to Common Core

    Posted 01-28-2014 10:19:00 AM
    Hi Everyone,

    I thought some of you might be interested in a piece that aired this morning on NPR's Morning Edition about response to the Common Core standards.  You can link to the story here.   As you might know, 46 states have adopted the Common Core standards for K-12 education, and the AHA recently worked with several other educational organizations to help create the C3 Framework, a guide that helps states, districts, and schools to align their social studies curriculum to the Common Core. 

    Are your schools adopting the Common Core?  If so, what has the reaction been among teachers, parents, students, and administrators?  For those that have adopted the Common Core, have you used the C3 Framework for developing your social studies curriculum?

    Best,

    Dana

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    Dana Schaffer
    American Historical Assoc.
    Washington DC
    dschaffer@historians.org
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  • 2.  RE:NPR Story on Response to Common Core

    Posted 01-28-2014 10:29:00 AM
    And here's another story from NPR's Marketplace about New York's reaction to the Common Core.

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    Dana Schaffer
    American Historical Assoc.
    Washington DC
    dschaffer@historians.org
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  • 3.  RE:NPR Story on Response to Common Core

    Posted 01-28-2014 10:21:00 PM
    Both articles spell out many problems with the discussion and implementation of the Common Core. One of the major problems in this current movement is that it is diametrically opposed to another big trend, standardized testing. The talk is of a desire to move away from standardized testing, yet so many states implemented the common core, then raced to create a new standardized test to measure it. Whoa! Isn't that somewhat hypocritical?

    This "focus" on skills based education, which allows teachers to select the content they want to teach might be okay if that was what it was really doing. Too many districts however are driving the bus and not allowing teachers to select, but instead selecting for the teachers. Both conservatives and liberals alike who talk about the one size fits all nature of the common core are correct. Rapidly teachers, if for no other reason than self-preservation, are frantically re-directing their teaching so as to teach to the middle. This effort allows them to reach the most students possible. In some cases the lowest level student can keep up,especially if the district is providing the support it should. Our gifted and talented students are in many cases being left behind. Feeling marginalized they move toward stem programs that celebrate their gifts in Science and Math. As districts cut back on History education, reduce programs promoting history education it becomes critical that programs like National History Day maintain support encouraging the study of History. When students come to you and say we love your class, but their is not future in it, or I would take your class but my guidance counselor says science is more important what do we argue back.

    I work within the environment my state is creating. They have accepted the common core, provided little or no training in it but insisting it is part and parcel of a new evaluation system. If standards of important History is maintained, a de-emphasis on testing actually occurs and teachers are given adequate training and time to implement common core then it may turn out to be productive, but there never has been nor will there ever be a panacea in regards to education. Good history education requires time and it requires content. We can argue on the degree needed or the depth covered but it is the lessons of history that will best help us make our students into good critical thinkers. Within the Common Core History is an afterthought designed only, like science, to help our students be better readers. C3 adds good depth and better understandings on what history and other social studies disciplines can bring to our students academic arsenals and making them better critical thinkers.

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    Peter Porter
    Montville Township High Sch.
    West Orange NJ
    peter.porter.jr@gmail.com
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