Thompson: What Policy Types Don't Get About Teaching Common Core
Gotham School's Philissa Cramer writes in Polakow-Suransky Tries Out the Teaching He's Been Pushing For about the curious way that the second-in-command of the New York City schools chose to "honor" teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week: "Of course," wrote Cramer, "he made sure his lesson was aligned with the city’s new curriculum standards, known as the Common Core."
But Polakow-Suransky did so in an AP class of one male and 17 female students, where he only had to address the class for a total of four minutes. Surely he knew that his stunt would be taken as a not-so-subtle jab at neighborhood school teachers, blaming us for being sages on the stage and not guides on the side.
I will try to phrase this so that non-teachers will not conclude that we are again being too defensive: For years now, NYC neighborhood school teachers have been pressured to rush through skin-deep instruction in order to jack up test scores. Now, Common Core backers will invest whatever they deem necessary to align to higher standards and assessments, but they will likely ignore what it will take to align their ideals with the actual conditions of inner city classrooms.
If the policy folks want the new standards to help neighborhood schools, they missed an opportunity. They should want a district leader to have a glimpse of what it will be like when regular teachers transition to the Common Core pedagogy where kids are supposed to reflect on "authors’ logic and style" and savor their “emotional content.”
Come to think of it, shouldn't Polakow-Suransky want to experience the reactions of neighborhood school students, who have been raised in an era of teach to the primitive test, when the opposite approach is mandated?- JT (@drjohnthompson) image via.