By: Timothy Shanahan
The Common Core State Standards represent the most audacious and far-reaching curriculum change that I’ve witnessed across my long career (I’ve been banging at this for more than 40 years). The standards are asking that we give kids texts that, in the past, we would have said were too hard for them. We’re also being discouraged from doing as much out-of-grade-level reading placements. These changes will require that teachers teach reading in very different ways than they’ve been taught.
Further, under the Common Core standards, kids are being asked to write about the ideas in texts—rather than just reading the texts for comprehension. There’s much more attention on argument and debate; in their writing and oral presentations, students will have to refine their ability to make reasoned arguments on the basis of evidence. In grades 6–12, students are expected to spend considerable time reading and writing across the curriculum, and they need to learn to read like historians and write like scientists. And then there’s close reading. . . . Don’t get me started...."