I have to be honest here. I’m completely not sold on these Common Core Learning Standards actually I’m really worried about them and where we are going with them.
1. They were initiated by corporate money and written by people who are NOT educators.
2. They are being forced upon us and used as motivation for our adminstration and Education Dept. to evaluate teachers based on student’s success with these. I have nothing against creating standards that are the same across states but the precedence these are holding is very dangerous. High focus on standardized teaching and testing.
3. There is such an emphasis on moving away from novels and more about FACTUAL reading (non-fiction/ academic) and research based writing that it seems that all creative writing and reading is being sucked out! What about getting kids interested and motivated? I’m afraid we are going to see a HUGE dropout rate! More than usual… Kids will have no reason to be excited about school. If they focus is on more academic reading and less about creativity than they are alienating a large group of kids.
4. I have art teacher friends around here that are already having to change their curriculum and focus more on vocabulary (word walls, writing, and reading in their classroom) and less about just making art! I am not against vocabulary… actually I use many in my lessons and even read to my younger kids along with the theme of the lesson but I’m afraid this is going to overtake the little time I have with them and the focus will be on concrete “right and wrong” instead of imagination and creativity in the work. I worry that kids will not be able to think of anything new and creative but instead will worry about copying facts. This is not what I want for my kids. Where is the joy of using materials… of process.. of doing things differently just to see how it turns out. I encourage them to deviate from my example if it still falls within the lesson but allows for their creativity. WHere will that be now?
5. Testing, Testing, Assessing… We will be needing to create a “test” to measure student growth… all 430 of them in my school. You can see why I’m not happy about this! I am hoping that we are going to be allowed to have alternative assessments like digital portfolio (which I already do to some extent with Artsonia) and maybe a pre and post drawing… We are also being forced to be on the report card. I know some of you already do grading at the Elementary Art level but we have not.
I am hoping that the Arts will have their own Common Core but I highly doubt it. Do you think this is a fade? A fly by night initiative? It seems like these “standards” come and go and don’t last all that long. I know art teachers and other “special area” teachers are freaking out about these and how we fit into it all… how are we going to justify our programs to our districts? Economic times are tough and cuts are deep… where are the arts in all this?
What are your thoughts on this?