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Common Mediocrity

Posted on 2014.03.22 at 02:09
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Rant Warning in response to all the Common Core bs:

First of all, a curriculum is not a document set in stone; it is an evolving document that grows with your students' needs.

Here's the thing, the important part of the curriculum is not seeing what to teach and when; it's knowing how you need to teach a particular concept at this point so they can progress to this level by the next, and this level at the next, etc. until finally they reach the ultimate goal of "x." If you are just looking at the curriculum to see what to teach, you aren't using it correctly. If your document is only supposed to be used as such it's actually rather useless even if it was expensive and no matter who claimed to endorse it.

And while it may or may not have assessments in it, those aren't the point either--you do NOT teach to assessments. If you are, you aren't using the curriculum or the assessments properly. And if the only assessing you do is when it shows up as an assessment you are setting up at least part of your students to fail. Assessments help document grow and show trends, to help you adjust and revise the curriculum. Not rewrite--revise.  If they're not used as indicators of your curriculum, it means they are designed to neither test what you are really teaching nor indicate actual growth in the student at the higher levels of Bloom's Taxonomy.

The point of a curriculum is to get the teacher to THINK CRITICALLY about WHY they are teaching a particular objective and in what order they should be taught, HOW it relates to other objectives, and what is the BEST way to teach the objective at this point to keep them on pacing to reach the goal many many years down the road.  If the document doesn't do that, it is not a curriculum or is an incredibly poor excuse for one.

Any system that forces the curriculum into a specific framework with a one size fits all mentality, dictates the what and when regardless of your students' current progress, and/or is too rigid to make revisions and evolution meaningful if possible at all has little practical use at best and is effectively breaking the curriculum.  I also have never seen one such system be truly comprehensive and inclusive of all subjects and address multiple intelligences...no matter how many big buzz words they like to throw in there.  Any system that is so influenced by political opinion and financial motivation has no place in the education of future citizens...it only has a place in creating mindless peons that will be content to complain about their lot in life rather than rise above it and create true and lasting change.  The solutions in education cannot be purchased or given; they must be created by those in the classroom who know what they are doing who are willing to sacrifice to do what is best for the students and not listen to the bullshit being fed to them by people who "must know what they are talking about because they say they do."  / rant

Furthermore, any such system that asks me to teach in a way that requires students to repetitively answer question in a long roundabout inefficient manner just because there may be a few kids who can't do it normally, is imposing low expectations and standards on everyone.  As a waitress or as an engineer, I must be able to do math, subtraction, division, and multiplication IN MY HEAD, if I cannot I will not have a job very long.  I cannot take two minutes to figure out what to count by, then another minute to fill it out on a number line, then another minute to write....  ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME??  Why the fuck are ANY teachers thinking this system is appropriate?  Moreover, I have seen the gaps this system creates since nothing is truly understood...the student just learn how to show their work.  It's like expecting writing to improve without teaching grammar--which is JUST NOW being added back to the English curriculum.  (I shit you not.)

And while we're at it...critical think is NOT following directions, jumping through hoops repeatedly, or getting the right answer.  Those are all the very bottom of Bloom's Taxonomy; critical thinking is assessing what the BEST solution is and understanding, and justifying, WHY it is the best solution in a given situation.  I am SO tired of students who want to tell me an answer before they hear the question because all they have been taught to care about is the correct answer.  I am also tired of students who are convinced they cannot answer correctly, or quickly enough, so they don't want to try.  When I ask a question, I don't let them know if they are right--I ASK WHY DO YOU THINK/SAY THAT?  Suddenly, they start thinking...it's not hard to do people.

On top of this we have the political overboard of not offending anyone or hurting anyone's feelings, etc.  Don't get me wrong, bullying has no place in education, but we also need to teach how to accept criticism or they're not going to have a job once they graduate or any relationship of any sort.  We need to teach that you don't always get your way, and it isn't that the person is discriminating.  We need to teach that you must take responsibility, follow through with your actions, and work together.  Not everyone is the best and not everyone needs an award--and we must STOP awarding for the minimum of showing up.

People need to wake the fuck up, educate themselves with facts rather than trusting that everyone else just knows what they are talking about, and learn to do their damn job!  Like many things, perhaps Common Core started out with its heart in the right place, but that time has long since been shadowed by greed, ignorance, and ego.  It's time to stand up for what is best for our children and for our students.  I shudder at the thought of today's youth in charge when I retire if we do not.  Future generations deserve better than Common Core.  STOP TEACHING MEDIOCRITY!

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