Monday, February 21, 2011

Standards vs. Innovation?

Rick Hess made a great point in a blog entry that sums up: "Common Core... enthusiasts... need to do a far better job of thinking and talking about the real-world impact of their elegant stylings, or they're going to build an exquisitely engineered project that is at cross-purposes with the practical concerns of an array of policymakers, parents, and educators." (

I think it can be done, and I certainly believe common standards should not lead to the "locking down" of the curriculum as the mechanism he articulates (what I think of as "embedded assessment" could do). But I confess it's a danger, and I'm not sure all "Common Core enthusiasts" are on the same page about this. Standards should establish the floor and point to the sky, not define the walls, ceiling hight, plumbing and lighting specs, etc...

I loved the 1939 parody of curriculum development one of his commentators linked to: "The Saber-tooth Curriculum" (


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