Why I’m for the Common Core: Teacher Bashing and Common Core Bashing Are Both Uncalled for
When I’m asked if I support the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) I give an emphatic “yes.” They constitute the first multi-state plan to give substance and coherence to what is taught in the public schools. They encourage the systematic development of knowledge in K-5. They break the fearful silence about the critical importance of specific content in the early grades. They offer an example (the human body) of how knowledge ought to be built systematically across grades. They state: “By reading texts in history/social studies, science, and other disciplines, students build a foundation of knowledge in these fields that will also give them the background to be better readers in all content areas. Students can only gain this foundation when the curriculum is intentionally and coherently structured to develop rich content knowledge within and across grades.” That principle of building coherent, cumulative content characterizes the most effective school systems in the world, and for good reason: The systematic development of student knowledge in history, literature, science, and the arts is essential to high verbal ability — which in turn is the key to social mobility and college readiness.
The words in the CCSS which I’ve italicized, don’t get down to defining the specific historical, scientific, and other knowledge that is required for mature literacy. (If they did so no state would have adopted the standards, because specific content is a local prerogative in the U.S.) But those words are an impetus to a brave governor or state superintendent to get down to brass tacks. In early schooling progress cannot be made without coherence and specificity. Little can come from the current incorrect assumption that critical thinking skills or reading comprehension can be gained without a specific systematic build up of knowledge.
Read the entire article by E.D.Hirsch, Jr on Huffington Post at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/e-d-hirsch-jr/why-im-for-the-common-cor_b_3809618.html
Note: E.D.Hirsch, Jr is a former University of Virginia Professor of Education and Humanities; and author.
Common Core Can Reduce Teacher Bashing at http://www.edexcellence.net/common-core-can-reduce-teacher-bashing
The Misuse of Common Core Tests at http://www.edexcellence.net/the-misuse-of-common-core-tests