So, I’ve been planning to write a post on all the Common Core stuff for a long time now. Connecticut is, indeed, one of the states that got onboard with Common Core and is/will be required to align with all of those standards. I know people have (very) strong opinions about Common Core and I feel it’s important to be respectful, acknowledge the limitations, and address why, as of yet, you’ve not heard me freak out one bit about it all.
But here’s what I discovered–
Common Core? Is a HUGE topic.
I had way too much to say to cram into a single post, at least without being horribly abrupt and incomplete. That’s not really my style so, unfortunately, I kind of abandoned the whole thing. But I still want to talk about it. I don’t want to ignore the topic and I do hope to address different facets in different posts.
For today, I want to talk about Common Core and social media.
Rather than intelligent discussion or debate, what I see most frequently on Facebook are things like this:
Usually, it’s accompanied by one of the following statements:
1. “Thanks, Common Core! This is just what our kids need!”
2. “This is what our kids are learning now, thanks to Common Core.” OR
3. “Annnnddddd, that’s why I homeschool.”
People go crazy. The outrage! The horror! This is madness! What is this world coming to??????
Let’s all take a collective deep breath and acknowledge some truths for just a second:
Inference is a fantastic thing for fourth graders to study.
Personally, I’m thrilled to see an exercise that challenges students to figure out inferred meaning. Way too many children have no concept of inference, whether in written or spoken language, and that’s a major problem when it comes to understanding both meaning and intent.
Infidelity is a mature topic to introduce to this age range.
Would I be thrilled to have my nine-year-old doing this worksheet? Not so much. I’d rather avoid having a discussion on this topic because, well, it’s awkward and, hopefully, not really necessary at this point.
HOWEVER, much like talking about “where babies come from”, I believe there are ways to handle this conversation at an age-appropriate level without it being graphic or overwhelming. Were it me, I would simply say, “Because the hair is a not hers or her daughter’s, Ruby knows that someone else has been in her room. This is upsetting to her, because she’s not the one who let her in. She knows Mike has done something behind her back and that will challenge her trust forever.” DONE.
This worksheet is in NO WAY a Common Core requirement.
There seems to be a common misconception that all students everywhere are now doing identical assignments. That’s not true. Honestly, the various third grade classrooms within our district or even within our school do not all do the same assignments. This is not “universal worksheet world.” Being “Common Core compliant” means that the curricula need to align with Common Core guidelines. It does NOT mean that everyone has to do the same thing.
Some teacher somewhere CHOSE that assignment for his or her class. It’s fine to question that judgment. It’s fine to be upset. It’s fine to say, “I wouldn’t want my kid doing that.” But it’s silly to assume or imply that every child everywhere is getting this same worksheet or even type of worksheet. I can guarantee you that there are plenty of fourth grade teachers who would scan those questions and immediately reject it for the same reasons that so many parents don’t like it.
And, finally, social media is a game changer.
This is the biggest point I want to make. I want to be very, very clear about this, because, for whatever reason, I think people too often forget something…
Here’s what I want you to know– there have ALWAYS been inappropriate or sketchy assignments/worksheets. Since the dawn of education, most likely, there have been teachers and administrators who have asked children to do or complete things that infuriated their parents. This happened when we were kids. It happened when our parents were kids.
But here’s what’s different– back when I was a kid, if I had gotten a worksheet that had something alarming on it, my parents would have confronted the school. They would probably have told some friends and maybe our neighbors. The topic may have come up on a phone call with a long-distance aunt or uncle. And that would be that. No one was taking photos on their smart phones and slapping it all over Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, et al.
My point? This isn’t news, people. It really isn’t. The gross overreaction is almost comical to me. It’s fine that we share this stuff. And it’s normal to have reactions and opinions. But, oh, the outrage! I think it’s misplaced. I think we need to step back and realize that we’re being getting sucked into the social media maelstrom when we jump onboard with reactions to screen shots like this.
In the end, I suggest you do your research. Visit YOUR school and find out what curriculum they’re using. Ask questions. Find out what new testing will mean for your kids. Ask about opt-outs, if that’s something you’d prefer. Challenge the system to help make it better.
But don’t let Facebook rule your emotions or opinions.