A teacher in Florida wants to know how the Common Core standards are supposed to change her teaching, why she should drop literature for informational texts, which dominate other subjects, and what the PARCC assessments mean. Will states have the money they need to buy computers for the assessments? Will they have the funds to pay for professional development for the new standards and assessments? So much remains unknown.
If students are reading in their history and science classes (as they should be), I see no reason to limit the amount of literature in English classes. There is plenty of time to read “informational texts” outside of the English curriculum. I never read an “informational text” in an English class growing up. We never even had an English textbook. Instead we given actual books and the lessons revolved around what we were reading. What a novel (pardon the pun) idea!
We finally had our first meeting about Common Core last week. Most teachers don’t have a clue about Common Core. Even the presenters who attended a four day summer institute could not explain what exactly the PARCC assessments will consist of. All we know is that by 2015, the Common Core is coming! The PARCC assessments will replace the newly redesigned FCAT 2.0 and the newly implemented EOCs. In Florida, teachers’ jobs will surely depend on the our students’ test results but so far we have received zero training and no one knows what these assessments will look like. We do know however that they will have to be administered online and we know we don’t have nearly enough computers to accomplish this. Will the Federal Government be providing massive funding for computers and teacher training? Florida received millions in Race to the Top funds, but so far all I have seen from the money is a lousy value added algorithm.