Over in the more feverish corners of the blogosphere, and sometimes even in saner locales, the Shanker Institute's call for "common content" curriculum to accompany the Common Core standards has triggered a panic attack. There's talk of "bait and switch," of double-cross, of treacherous inconsistency, of blah blah blah?all associated with what is depicted as the dire threat of a "national curriculum."
And yes, I signed onto it, so am said to be personally culpable.
For Pete's sake, people, this is an effort to help teachers do a better job of getting their pupils to a higher standard of achievement in English and math, not to repeal local control, eliminate autonomy and choice, or impose the federal government on state and local education agencies.
Let's keep a few important "knowns" in mind.
First, we know that many teachers crave better curricular guidance aligned with?quality academic standards that in turn are (one hopes) in alignment with the assessments that?their students will be taking and their performance will be judged on.
Second, we know that, absent such guidance and materials, some gifted teachers are willing and able to develop sound curricula for themselves?and some others are able to borrow (often, nowadays, from websites, bulletin boards, and such) from?curricula developed by other teachers who have already done the heavy lifting.
But, third,?we also know that?far too many teachers, unsupplied with decent curricular specifics and materials by their schools, districts, and states, wind up using crummy textbooks as curricular crutches.
One more thing we know: The new Common Core standards are going to be a very big challenge for students and teachers alike. (If you don't believe me, take a close look at those standards yourself.)
So it seems to me utterly insane...