Earlier today, NYSED released the link to the tool they’re using to collect recommended changes to the Common Core Learning Standards. The CCLS are slightly different than the original CCSS in a few key ways: NYS added #11 to reading about literature, a handful of other standards around creativity, culture, and choice and one or two to the math standards.
The survey is clear about what it is and what it isn’t. It’s not a place to share general opinions about the giant ball of sticky wax referred to as “Common Core.” It’s a place to comment on individual standards. Each. Individual. Standard. Which, according to my Excel file, is 1115 literacy standards. I will be sharing feedback with SED based on my experiences around curriculum and assessment over the last four years. Some of my feedback will include:
* Creativity was added during the adoption process – in some grades, though, it appears under Reading Informational Texts and in others, it’s in Speaking and Listening, some it’s both. I’d advocate for putting them all under Speaking and Listening like it is in 12th grade.
* Cultural connections in Kindergarten and First Grade (RL.9a) is worded oddly. I suspect it’s about inviting students to see connections between their own lives and the experiences of those in a book they’re reading but it should be cleaned up and clarified to ensure alignment in curriculum design.
* The “seek to understand” standard has always been one of my favorites but like cultural connections, the wording seems a bit hastily. I’ve drafted a proposed re-write based on work from anti-racism/cultural competency educators.
* The study of dialects and accents appears only in 5th grade. Feels like a waste of an opportunity to invite students to engage with the English language and all its odd quirks. I have ideas for how to expand that into other grades.
* In some of the original CCSS, there’s a sense of writing by committee that becomes clear when you’ve started at the standards many, many, many times during design sessions. Small things like a word being used in 3rd, dropped in 4th, but re-appears in 5th. Because that’s the kind of person I am, I have a running list of those odd quirks and will be passing them along.
Those who advocate opting out of state tests have reported that, in order to opt back in, they want the standards to be fixed so they are developmentally and age-appropriate. Let’s hope they pass along their feedback around what changes need to be made to ensure that happens.