Tuesday, September 22, 2009

National Academic "Standards": What'll Be On "The Test"

If you were a 'critical educator," whose pedagogy and practice were informed by theories of emancipatory and democratic education, and socially constructed epistemology, the following torrent of terrifying tautologies and imperious, impenetrable 'educationalistese' boiler-plate would freeze your Freire off, dry up your Vygotsky in a trice.

Via Susan Ohanian's excellent daily out-rage round-up (available by signing up at her site, a necessity for critical teachers and educators). If I were still teaching, my students would be reading and commenting on her posts.
The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) today released the first official public draft of the college- and career-readiness standards in English-language arts and mathematics as part of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, a process being led by governors and chief state school officers in 51 states and territories. These standards define the knowledge and skills students should have to succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing, academic college courses and in workforce training programs.
The college- and career-readiness standards have been informed by input from education and content experts and feedback from participating states. They were developed based on the following guiding considerations:
* Fewer, clearer, higher: It is critical that any standards document be translatable to and teachable in the classroom. As such, the standards must cover only those areas that are critical for student success.

* Evidence: Each document includes sources of evidence for the standards. Evidence informed what was included in the standards.

* Internationally benchmarked: These standards are informed by the content, rigor and organization of standards of high-performing countries and states.

* Special populations: In the development of these standards, the inclusion of all types of learners was a priority.

* Assessment: The standards will ultimately be the basis for a system of high quality assessments.

* Standards and curriculum: Standards are not curriculum. The curriculum that follows will continue to be a local responsibility (or state-led, where appropriate).

* 21st century skills: The draft English-language arts and mathematics standards have incorporated 21st century skills.
What you have there is the structure of the next wave of "high-stakes" tests. The whole thing is chock-full of impossibly contradictory aims. How, for example, can there be "fewer, clearer, higher" standards without the standards themselves being more exclusionary, and more capricious? In Texas, the state version of this effort is wrestling with whether or not to replace Cesar Chavez with Phyllis Schlaffly. No, really. No fucking shit.

The k-12 standards are next, though how they will--or even CAN--differ from the "considerations" described as underwriting the list above escapes me for the moment.

No comments:

Post a Comment