Common Core State Standards: Better Than Ever



By 06/02/2010

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Today marks release of the final “Common Core” standardssymbolically occurring in a state capital (Atlanta) rather than Washington, D.C.

I haven’t eyeballed the math standards yet but, based on a preliminary inspection, the proposed standards for “English Language Arts & Literacy” are even better than the very good draft released in March. (Both sets of standards will be available here at 10:00 a.m. today.)

They’re clearer, better structured, more coherent–and very ambitious. The “text exemplars” (appendix b) are mostly terrific. The “samples of student writing” (appendix c) are helpfully analyzed and annotated. A lot of commendable “content” is tucked in among a well-crafted assemblage of important skills. And while I remain underwhelmed by the research base (appendix a), in the end standards have more to do with judgment than with science.

The four 4 documents total a couple of inches of paper and I don’t claim to have mastered them. But I’ve seen enough to restate with fair confidence an earlier (and better informed) Fordham judgment, namely that millions of American school-kids would be better served if their states, districts and schools set out in a serious way to impart these skills and content to their pupils rather than the nebulous and flaccid curricular goals that they’re now using.

We’ll be back with more. The Fordham team is presently engaged in substantive reviews both of the new Common Core State Standards and of current state standards in math and English/language arts. We expect to produce those analyses in mid-July.

Until then, you’d be smart to examine the CCSSI standards yourself.




Comment on this article
  • Frank Baker says:

    What The Common Core ELA Standards Document Omits

    Statement by Frank W. Baker, media education consultant, founder of the Media Literacy Clearinghouse

    “Today’s digital natives reside in a world in which they consume, and are exposed to, more visual messages than print. Reports from the Kaiser Family Foundation and others remind us regularly how much media young people use and consume. It is unfortunate that the release of the final Core Standards for English Language Arts has turned a blind eye to this fact.

    One of the most important questions in media literacy is ‘what is left out of a message’ and it is clear that what is omitted from the Common Core ELA standards released today is any reference to both visual literacy and media literacy.

    When the draft of the ELA core standards was recently released for public comment, we provided the reviewers (http://www.frankwbaker.com/petition_omission.htm) with 6 separate quotes from national educational organizations, including the National Council of Teachers of English, which reflected the importance of teaching with and about non-print texts. Yet the writers of the core standards have chosen to ignore this.

    Because each state can add 15% to this document, I call on those representatives in each of the 50 states to not only consider what is in the document, but also what is not. There is plenty of evidence (and resources) that today’s ELA classroom must include media (and other non-print) as texts. I can tell you that I will be working, here in South Carolina, with the State Department of Education, to ensure that both visual and media literacy are included in what our state requires teachers to teach and students to learn.”

  • Jay P. Greene says:

    I continue to be puzzled by Checker’s support for national standards, as I wrote here: http://jaypgreene.com/2010/06/07/national-standards-nonsense-redux/

    Even if the current set of proposed national standards is rigorous and sound (and there are many credible experts who think these standards are lousy), why would you believe that national standards would remain strong over time?

    The false conceit of national standards is the belief that you can centralize and enhance the opportunity for political control over schools without that control being seized by the most powerful, well-organized, and pernicious political forces in education.

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