Friday, October 11, 2013

Stimulating Greater Thoughtfulness, Not Greater Strain

S Krashen
NABE Perspectives just published an article that to me reads like a commercial for the Common Core. Prof. Anita Pandey interviewed three students,  four teachers, five parents and one administrator, and quoted a radio interview with the D.C. Schools Chancellor. All those interviewed presented a cheerful view of the common core curriculum, with only gentle criticisms, expressed as concerns. There was no mention of any of the serious criticism of the common core published in the professional literature and the media, including those in NABE  publications (Krashen, 2011, 2012).
The interviews included this segment, presented enlarged in a box on page 12:
Nick Rotoli (Assistant Superintendent, Haverferd School District, PA): Some teachers are asking: “Are our youngsters being asked to do things that many of them are not developmentally ready to do?”
Prof. Pandey: There’s only one way to find out, right?
In my experience, one is never too young or too old to learn, and it’s better to overestimate our children and to set the bar high than to underestimate them.
But there is another way to find out: Read the professional literature, interview teachers, and do small-scale pilot studies. There are apparently are no plans for doing this. Instead we are going ahead and imposing the standards anyway, deliberating erring on the side of too hard rather than too easy, and ignoring the words of Dewey: the value of what students do "resides in its connection with a stimulation of greater thoughtfulness, not in the greater strain it imposes." (Kohn, 1999).

Pandey, A. 2013. Concerned about Common Core? Conversations with students, teachers, parents,
 a policy maker, & a superintendent. NABE Perspectives 35(3):5-20.
Kohn, A. 1999. Confusing harder with better. Education Week, September 15, 1999.
Krashen, S. 2011. Poverty is the problem that must be solved: Our schools are not broken. NABE NEWS 33(4): 5-8.
Krashen, S. 2012. Do those who like the common core know the facts? NABE enews, July 12, 2012.

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