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2 Replies to “Cored Out”
“Core Knowledge is a good curriculum but if it gets weakly implemented in a lot of places it’s going to erode the organization’s well-deserved reputation.”
On the other hand, implementation of the CCSSI’s poor math standards will result in poor curricula being made worse, and thus extending damage to students even further than that being done today.
A fair point…to a point. Core Knowledge’s main proposition is to point out that in the absence of a coherent, sequenced curriculum efforts to improve reading comprehension are doomed to fail. Elementary school reading comprehension is still largely taught as a how-to skill–lots of reading strategy instruction; hit or miss “content.” But it’s familiarity with the content, not the reading strategy that creates comprehension (see Dan Willingham’s You Tube video “Teaching Content is Teaching Reading” for more on this). Language Arts standards are broad statements of goals (you can’t teach the standards; you can only teach TO the standards). Thus the Core Knowledge Sequence is the fuel needed to make the standards engine run.
As for the Core Knowledge “brand,” there are already hundreds of schools using all or part of the Sequence that CK has no formal relationship with. The ones that are implementing the curriculum with a high degree of fidelity and training by the Core Knowledge Foundation, are the so-called “official” Core Knowledge schools, a list of which are available on CK’s website. Thus the “brand” genie is not only out of the bottle, it’s never been inside.
Done right, the common core standards have the ability to be a significant step forward. But in the absence of a rigorous curriculum, it won’t — it can’t — work. The standards writers cannot be in the business of writing a national curriculum. Fortunately, they now don’t have to be.