"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Please take a closer look at the Common Core

Sent to the School Library Journal 2/23

Librarians may be "findings aspects of the common core to celebrate"("What's happening at the core," Feb. 2014), but they are ignoring very serious problems. 

The standards might look like look like they involve "deeper levels of critical thinking" but they are completely untested. There were no pilot studies. The language arts standards force students to deal with demanding nonfiction texts in order to promote earlier mastery of "academic language," but there is no evidence that making reading harder produces better results. There is, however, plenty of evidence that the route to academic language includes a great deal of self-selected, recreational reading, which is now nearly impossible to include in the current version of the Common Core.

The common core demands an astonishing amount of standardized testing. The US Department of Education asserts that we will have testing at all grade levels, all subjects, interim tests, and maybe even pre-tests in the fall to be able to measure improvement through the academic year. The tests will be administered online, an untested plan that will cost billions, and that will demand more and more taxpayer money as today's equipment becomes obsolete, and as new "advances" in technology are developed, draining money from projects and approaches shown to help students, including libraries.

When the new system fails to produce results, teachers will be blamed, and there will be calls for more "rigor" and more testing.

The Common Core, a product of the business world, not professional educators, is an extreme and misguided proposal. I hope the SLJ and librarians will take a harder look. 

Stephen Krashen


The route to academic language: Krashen, S. (2004).  The power of reading.  Portsmouth: Heinemann and Westport: Libraries Unlimited. Krashen, S. (2012). Developing academic proficiency: Some hypotheses. International Journal of Foreign Langauge Teaching, (2): 8-15. (available at ijflt.com) 

Free reading nearly impossible: Krashen, S. 2013. Access to books and time to read versus the common core standards and tests.  English Journal 103(2): 21-39.

Amount of testing: Krashen, S. (20130> How Much Testing?” Diane Ravitch’s Blog
(July 25).

Cost of the testing:  Krashen, S. and Ohanian, S. (2011). High tech testing on the way: A 21st century boondoggle?
http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/ /2011/04/high_tech_testing_on_the_way_a.html.

Libraries: Krashen, S., Lee, S.Y. and McQuillan, J. 2012. Is the library important? Multivariate studies at the national and international level. Journal of Language and Literacy Education, 8(1): 26-36.

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