When I first started teaching, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were just being rolled out to replace the New York State Standards. I wasn’t resistant to the shift in course content standards because teaching was still very new to me and my eagerness superseded any skepticism that I might have had.
I noticed, however, that many seasoned teachers were annoyed by the implementation of the CCSS. I was somewhat puzzled by their behavior. I mean, what was the big deal? The CCSS were helping to hold our students across this nation accountable to one overarching set of educational goals required to be college and career ready, right? What was so wrong with that? I chalked it up to some teachers just not being malleable as they’ve progressed in their career, but that explanation didn’t sit well with me either. I’m team-teachers, not anti-teachers. When I asked my mentor to explain the general disdain towards the new standards held by so many veteran educators, she explained that after 30 years in education, she’s experienced that every 5-7 years, something “new” comes along in education and just when the teachers and the students are fully adapted and acclimated to the current latest and greatest — standards, assessments, whatever it is — it changes and the educational baby is thrown out with the bath water. I heard what she was saying, but I didn’t fully understand it — until now.
Here I am in my eighth year of teaching, which has been heavily influenced by and infused with the CCSS as the backdrop, and just as my mentor said would happen, when I’ve finally committed the English Language Arts standards for 7th and 8th grade to memory, I learn that a new set of standards is being adopted and rolled-out! What? Huh? Come again? New education standards? Oh boy—here we go again!
The shoe was on the other foot. That same resistant and disgruntled feeling that I witnessed then-established teachers display was now welling up inside of me. I don’t want new standards! I’m fine with the current ones in place! What happened to “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?”. The CCSS for ELA are good. What are we doing here, New York?
To be fair, I read the new Next Generation Standards and honestly, I don’t see much of a shift. On some level this is a good thing but then why adopt new standards if the only thing that really appears to have changed at first glance is the name and a few buzzwords sprinkled here and there?
I feel like I’m venting right now but, hey, I don’t think I’m alone. The funny part is that as involved that I am in the educational sphere in New York State and nationally, the roll-out of these Next Generation Standards caught me somewhat off-guard. Why don’t I hear more schools and teachers talking about this? Is it just me?
Alright, rant over — for now. I’ll give the new standards a closer review when I do my lesson planning for the upcoming week on Sunday. If you have any feedback about the Next Generation Standards or suggestions for me as I lament the passing of my beloved Common Core State Standards, please help this teacher out because right now I’m just not feeling any of it.