Not only are some of the standards opponents backed by think tanks with ties to ALEC and the Koch Brothers, but at least one of them hasn’t even read the standards themselves. According to Mid-Del Superintendent Dr. Rick Cobb:
My concern is this: White herself admits on Facebook that she has not read the standards. She has only read the negative reviews.
Apparently, the author of the Oklahoman article is simply reposting the thoughts of previous reviewers. Now, if the students in my class did that, I would send them back to the proverbial drawing board to exercise their critical thinking skills and devise their own arguments.
Dr. Cobb continues by giving his opinions on why we should approve the standards. He acknowledges that his expertise is in English Language Arts, though his work as an administrator has given him a basic understand of what is needed for the math standards. For the record, we at OEJ are educators who have been part of the process of reviewing and commenting on the secondary English Language Arts standards during the year in which the writing committee drafted them.
Two things strike me as most exceptional about these standards. First is that every standard includes strands for reading and writing. That means that at all grade levels, we will expect students not only to consume language, but to create it as well. They will be using the vocabulary that they are learning. They will be applying critical thinking skills throughout the grade spans. Even better, they will be learning with the purpose of becoming independent readers and writers.
The second selling point to me is the care taken in vertical alignment between grades. Once adopted, these standards will give us a skills progression that will help teachers develop their own instructional units and prepare students for each successive grade. Ultimately, the assessments that will be in place to test students will be more representative of what they know and can do than what we have seen during recent years.
We would like to add that standards are not meant to be curriculum. They are not meant to be scripted lesson plans that teachers must follow like automatons. Standards are meant to be guides that professional educators work within to ensure that students are covering necessary skills while at the same time providing relevant and appropriately rigorous instruction.
Legislators will consider three joint resolutions on Monday. Continue writing and calling your legislators!