John Merrow, in An Open Letter to the Architects of the Common Core, praises Common Core for raising the academic bar in America. Students in Portland, Maine learned the following:
(T)he value of teamwork; the importance of grit and tenacity; the science of electricity, wind, et cetera; the art and science of public speaking/communication; the importance of citizenship and making a contribution to society; confidence in their own power to create a meaningful life; and, finally, a sense of wonder. (I would also wager that the adults came away with a new appreciation for education, students and teachers.)
What concerns Merrow – and most educators – is how these meaningful lessons can be measured on standardized tests. The short answer is they can’t.
Thus, the rub of Common Core: it will be used to measure student achievement and teacher effectiveness. When so much is riding on test scores, you can bet the classroom focus will be on mastering only those skills required on the test. What’s good about the Common Core, like what’s happening in Portland, won’t be so common.