The 'Monster' at the End of the Common CoreEducation Week, May 1, 2013
Since the Common Core State Standards emerged, people I respect have come out in opposition in a way that reminds me of a book from my childhood: The Monster at the End of This Book. In this classic, Sesame Street’s Grover begs us not to turn the pages, lest we unleash the monster at the end. He becomes increasingly agitated, building walls and threatening us as we get closer to the end. His panic sounds a lot like what I hear from some of my colleagues in the educational community.
I think that, if we're as smart and committed as we say we are, we can use the common core as a stepping stone to better outcomes for all of our kids. And by "outcomes" I don't mean just "test scores." I mean, you know, Learning. Engagement. Success. . . . but also the skills and dispositions that kids need to succeed in life, like communication, collaboration, curiosity, organization, and problem solving.
What we should be celebrating as an opportunity, we're dreading. We've been buried under "teach to the test" and doing the heavy lifting in our classrooms for so many years that we’ve forgotten a basic premise of education: The learner does the learning.
I applaud Ms. Thomas’ view on this situation. Common Core Standards are an opportunity that allows the student to direct their own learning. What better way to interest and engage our students, and engage our teachers.
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