Monday, August 17, 2015

The pendulum has swung the other way

It’s a really horrible, hot day.  At one point the temperature hit 106 degrees, which is fairly sweltering for this part of the country.  On top of that is the smoke.  The winds have shifted south and the all the smoke from the Humboldt and Trinity County is socking in the Ukiah Valley.  My wife and I hiked at 6 a.m. and it was nasty.  Now it is an insane mix of grit and smoke, something that ends up in the back of the throat and on the surface of your teeth. 

We had our first meetings today and if I wasn’t a teacher that has been around the block, I’d be depressed. 

Cut down your content knowledge.  Cut it way down.

Meet Common Core reading and writing standards.

History content standards are not on the SBAC (Common Core) test, so they are not the focus.

The test, the test, the test.

It’s still the same message; teach to prepare for the test.  Only now the No Child Left Behind years that were full of the content standards are gone, and focus is the method at which you analyze any given content related to English and Math.  Basically it’s the same message. 

This was not a message given with any sort of joy but more resentment.  “It is what it is.”  I sat with a bemused look on my face because those old guard that said that these things go back and forth have been totally correct.  All that changes is the paperwork that needs to be done to justify what you are doing actually meets whatever standards are sexy for the current trend.  Fortunately we have been doing exactly what Common Core asks for, in one fashion or other, since I’ve worked in Ukiah.  Can we refine and improve?  Of course but that’s not a response from Common Core as much as it is teachers wanting to engage kids and create critical thinkers.  It’s part of the reason I’m so happy to be a part of my department.

I would tell you about my first professional development of the year but it would involve such negativity that Lucifer would pop out of the Earth and tell me to “chill the hell out.”    

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