Wednesday, April 23, 2014

This Friday I am speaking at the New York State School Library
Association, then, the following Thursday at the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association -- with a trip to the Washington (DC) Science & Engineering Festival, and a school visit in between (aside from the usual full time teaching load). Busy. But good busy. If you were to read the headlines, you would see how Common Core is a "wedge issue" that some hope will give a grass roots boost to conservatives. Or, about parents holding their children back from being tested. Or teachers and librarians angry about assessments. All of these are true. But the reality I see on the ground, in the many talks I give, is engagement, work: rolled up sleeves. Almost universally I find professionals who understand the need for the Common Core standards (or whatever the slightly modified standards are called in their state) and want to find ways to help implement them.

Here is yet one more headline -- to add to the links Mary Ann offered, and the CC-grumbling I just mentioned: Upshot As many of you must have seen, the Times is launching its new "upshot" feature with an analysis that shows how the middle and lower classes in the US are falling behind peers in other parts of the world. We can -- we should -- debate why this is so (an apt CC exercise). But it is a perfect response to the CC-resistance. It is one thing to say the standards are imperfect, the roll out uneven or botched, the assessments poorly designed, the overlap between student assessment and the judging of professionals an ill-considered mixing of apples and oranges. It is another to say that we need to prepare our students so that 1) they can fight for a society in which they have their best chance of success 2) they are best prepared to flourish in a global environment. Going back to what we had before CCSS makes no sense. Hoping that some non-existent structure of new standards would magically make everyone happy is, just that: magical thinking. So we are left with the standards we have, improving them, implementing them, working together.

And that is the other note I am seeing: teachers more willing, even eager, to hear from librarians. Librarians who recognize the need to show what they can do. A busy time -- but good. 

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