Tuesday, April 13, 2010

An Opinion on the Common Core Standards

Dr. Terrence O. Moore, the former principal of Ridgeview Classical Schools in Fort Collins, addresses common core standards here. Ridgeview is a school that doesn't even attempt to address Colorado model content standards and they believe their educational program exceeds any state assessment. They're right. Ridgeview consistently ranks in the top three high schools in Colorado.
I ran a K-12 classical charter school for seven years. Not once did I or any of the teachers look at a state standard in reading or writing (math is something of a different case). The students did no test prep. When our students took the state exams, all they did was complain about how easy and worthless they were and how they wanted to get back to real learning. Every year the high school ranked in the top three in the state, twice coming out first. The secret was breathtakingly simple. The way to teach literacy for the twenty-first century turns out to be the same way it has been done in the last thirty centuries of civilization: to hire the brightest and best-educated teachers (usually not those coming out of a school of education considered “certified”), to put in their hands the best works of literature and history and philosophy, to invite young people to have a conversation about what it means to be a human being, and to require those students to work hard and demonstrate good character while doing so. When all the Mickey-Mouse language of plot graphs and
“standards” is abandoned, it’s just you and some students talking about love, hate, war, peace, liberty, slavery, happiness, life, and death. And the students know when you’re faking it.

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