Raising the Bar for Kids Who Never Got Over the First Bar

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That new, tougher curriculum resulting from those new Common Core standards? It’s sucking up existing teaching hours like a raging river adding water to a flood. Meetings, professional developments, retooled lesson plans, lost students, unfamiliar books and software… Time bleeds away as teachers take this latest shift in focus and make it work.

Here is what I observed while teaching that curriculum: Remediation is getting sacrificed to idealistic learning targets, while the students at the bottom of the learning curve only become more confused. Making existing content more demanding without offering adequate time and resources to teach missed material from earlier years means students who only understood a fraction of what was coming at them daily now understand an even smaller fraction than before.

Eduhonesty: Let’s step outside the above verbiage. Kids don’t grasp why they suddenly understand much less of the curriculum than they did the previous year. They just know they fell from the upper-middle of the state standardized test to the lower-middle a few years ago, in one deep, ugly, PARCC or Smarter Balanced plunge, and somehow they cannot get off the bottom.

In concrete terms, we are making whole groups of capable young people feel dumber than rocks.