Monday, February 11, 2013

Lucy Calkins - About the Common Core

So today I traveled to Orlando, FL with eight of my Chets Creek colleagues for a Heinemann Workshop with Lucy Calkins.  I learned so-o-o-o much.  Here is a review of some of the big ideas.

What are the issues with the Common Core?
  • The problem in American education is poverty.  23% of our children are growing up in poverty which is up from 10%.  Standards cannot make up for all that poverty takes away from these children.
  • The estimated cost of the Common Core is $15.7 billion for the beginning phase.  The problem is that half that money is going to developing new assessments and the rest to the new technology needed to give the tests!  Where will the money come from to provide rich libraries and non-fiction books for each classroom?
  • The Common Core is not really researched-based.  We really don't  know what the pathway is to achieving the Common Core Standards.
  • The design itself may be flawed.  Working backwards from college readiness may not really provide the best standards for K-1 students.
We are at a crossroads.  Can we see opportunity and possibilities?

We have learned a lot about what NOT to do.
  • Adopting a new core reading program will not solve the problem.  We spent $87 million on new reading core and reading flatlined.  Adopting a basal and trying to teacher-proof learning just shows a lack of confidence in the profession.
  • Turning down the lights and turning on the music and just letting children write will not produce results without quality instruction.
  • Adopting too many innovations with a little bit of this and a little bit of that will not work.  If you have more thatn 4 or 5 innovations, you will not see gains.  Innovations need to be implemented with 90% fidelity to make a difference.
What we need is a model of continuous improvement.

Why is the Common Core gold?
  • It's a wake up call.
  • It calls for collegiality.  Gone are the days of closing your door and doing what you want. We are now in a time when teachers will have to work together in learning communities in order to lift the level of their practice.
  • There is an emphasis on writing.  Not only are there writing standards, but part of the reading standards are about writing.
  • There is an emphasis on text complexity and moving kids up through levels of more and more difficult text.
You need to know that comprehension is complex and that there is no researched magic list of strategies that will guarantee that you get all your students to the standards.  The BEST strategy is still a teacher who can make a difference.

1 comment:

Maria Mallon & Cheryl Dillard said...

There is nothing like seeing and hearing Lucy in person. She is so inspirational.MM