There’s a fight over the CCSS
TANDARDS AND THE
Patrick J. Finn Right-wingers in America suspect that the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are a plot to impose a national curriculum on our public schools directed by Washington liberals. Left-wingers fear that the Common Core State Standards are the product of an anti-progressive agenda that relies upon an unquestioning faith in Meritocracy and the Logic of Deficit. I do not believe that anyone is
actually looking at the standards or understands what is really behind them. Here, for example, are several of the Common Core State Standards for 8
Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text.
Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision.
Analyze how differences in the points of view of the characters and the audience or reader (e.g., created through the use of dramatic irony) create such effects as suspense or humor. These are the same curriculum goals for eighth grade reading when I started teaching 8
grade reading in 1959.
There’s nothing new here, so why do have yet another loud fanfare for “new standards?”
Since about 1900 we have had compulsory education of some sort in nearly every state. Textbook publishing has become a national enterprise. Every state, county, and local school district has a Curriculum Department that establishes curriculum goals for each grade level. The first national, norm-referenced standardized tests appeared at mid-century creating a new corporate
enterprise, and eventually “curriculum goals” came to be called “standards.”
Although these hundreds of Curriculum Departments, textbook publishers, and publishers of standardized tests seemed to be operating independently (based allegedly
meaning studies based on statistics) they all arrived ultimately in the same place because they were
all looking at each other’s products. If some poor, benight
ed employee of a curriculum department,