This week The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Pearson Education Publishing Goliath announced they will partner up to develop a curriculum to be implemented along with the Common Core State Standards. It makes me nervous for my teaching craft.
All but eight states (and four territories) in the U.S. have adopted Common Standards for English and Math. The following is the mission statement from the CCS webpage:
“The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.”
To say that anything is common or standard about the learning process doesn’t respect the kinds of creative thinking that the human brain can do, and certainly doesn’t respect the kinds of diverse experiences of my students.
The CCS assume that 1) there is a clear understanding of “what learning looks like” 2) global competition is the ultimate contribution to American society.
Whose assumptions are those?
Any teacher (or non-teacher) who has read James Loewen’s Lies My Teacher Told Me recognizes the kinds of hero-ification that (the few) Big Publishers (Pearson, Houghton-Mifflin/Harcourt, Heinemann, McGraw-Hill, etc.) produce for our society in a little over 300 pages. Whose stores are told; values represented in these compendia? More over, whose voice are excluded?
I am definitely curious to see what Gates and Pearson come up with for their Common Core Curriculum, but I not convinced it’ll be the cure for what ails curricula.