As we gear up for another school year, it seems like a good time to discuss the latest educational initiative, common core standards.
In 2008, the Council of Chief State School Officers and others decided to come up with uniform standards to get students ready for college and thus careers. Specifically, what can we do to teach them what they need to know so that they can go to college and not have to take a slate of remedial courses.
Basically, those pushing this initiative (and remember that it isn’t a federal push) want students to think about what they’re reading, rather than just parroting the text back. They want students to compare sources and use a larger variety and number of sources, vs opinion, in their writing.
By the 2014–2015 academic year, the initiative calls for 50% informational text in elementary school and 70% in high school—on average, across all curricula, excluding literature courses.
Developers have even come up with a listing of books to get teachers started — good news for those on the list.
What will this mean long term? It could mean more sales for nonfiction authors, especially those whose books are on the list. But remember, again, that this is not a federal initiative. Administrators who only do what is forced on them will most likely resist.
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