Saturday, May 25, 2013

More vital and responsive core standards

Last November I was thinking about the common core standards movement. I love the idea of continuity, and a carefully scaffolded path that helps build on student skills, but the reform movement being carried by presumptuous standards (back-applied from some ephemeral "college and career" end point) have ignored the child and the true needs in learners and society. Our philosophy of education is no longer driven by the goals of strong society, sustained democracy and self-motivated learners. 

There is no philosophy of education in current education reform. Instead it's a corporate-driven standardization model meant to force public schools to fill in pre-defined slots where teachers and learners will serve the market. Masters of the market place loyal ambassadors in politics and policy to enforce their model upon the citizens, beginning with state agencies that must obey (like public schools)-even when policies come from those who know nothing of the job of teaching and obeying means going against much of what experienced educators know.

So I found myself thinking about the actual reform needed. We do need to refocus our efforts with students, but it cannot continue to serve the market that has already failed us. Anyone who believes that the 1% of our population holding 40% of the nation's wealth wait anxiously for workers to hire into careers and pay good middle class wages to is living in a fantasy world. We don't need to reform our schools to redouble efforts to churn out more victims to exploit in a speculative investors' economy, we need to create the creators. 

But first, we need to wake them up to themselves, their world, and the task ahead. We need to pull our families out of the spell of the market, and enable them to focus on themselves, their world, and not only what they can get out of it, but also what they can contribute to it. To prepare them for success as continually developing citizens we need the foundation of more socially focused academic goals.

Here is my original post about the standards I want to write.

At this point there are four. Standard number 1 is yourself, with the focus areas of : A) You (self) and B) Family.

As the student matures and progresses, their understanding about themselves progresses from the essential facts in the primary levels (name, address, phone number, birth-date...) to somewhat more complex understandings and self-reflections in middle-school and junior-high (their understanding of their own skills, their interests, their schedules and activities and how they'd like to further develop in them...) to more purposeful reflections about themselves as high-schoolers and young adults (what they know about themselves already and how they intend to use their skills and interests to further develop and contribute to their future and their family/community).  A similar progression can be used to develop an understanding of B) Family, but it is getting late. I want to flesh these out with better language and some performance indicators. If you have any good ideas for these, or any of the other 3 standards areas, please contribute. I think the names of actual public school educators, and parents/family members of public school students would be more impressive on a standards document. More so than political appointees and business people. All of the same academic skills we want students to have can be encouraged with these standards, technology and collaboration would be a must, and reform-the kind we really need, would likely be the result.

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