Common Core, Stay Off My Lawn!

The new Samsung Galaxy S4 is pretty awesome. Some of its features include “Smart Scroll” which allows you to scroll through a page by tilting the phone instead of touching the screen. Another feature is “Smart Pause” in which the phone pauses a video if you aren’t looking at the screen. Although I don’t really need those features, they sound cool and make me want to buy one. In fact, more than 20 million people have felt the need to buy the Galaxy S4 since it was made available in April of 2013.

As advancements are made in technology, healthcare, transportation, etc., we all embrace the change and cannot wait to take advantage of it. Why then are changes in education often met with defiance? Although everything around me has evolved since I was born, why does school basically look the same? Why do we shake our fists like an old grouch at the Common Core, as if we want it to stay off our lawn?

At times, I am guilty of this myself, although I am often more excited about this change than others. One of the arguments often presented against change in education is, “It worked fine when I was in school, why do I need to change?” If that is true, then give up your cell phone and go back to a landline phone. Drive a car that gets fewer than 20 miles per gallon. I’m sure you’ll also want to return your flat-screen, HD television with 200 channels and go back to watching 4-5 channels on a low-definition television. All of these things worked well when I was a kid, why do we need to change them? I know this is a little extreme and sarcastic, but I have never figured out how lecturing to kids sitting in rows is still the best we can do. I also feel that teachers did well enough in school and enjoyed school enough to do it the rest of our lives. If we asked non-teachers how school worked for them while they were there, we might get a different opinion.

Others would says that there have been many changes in education, but none of them stick. I would absolutely agree with this. As other things have evolved around us, either linearly or exponentially, education seems to start something new, stop abruptly, and start something completely different. Education would benefit from reflecting on what works, what doesn’t, and moving forward instead of starting over. I know we often talk about this during professional development, but I rarely see change happen. Let’s start trying new things in our classroom, reflecting on the results, and then sharing our experiences with other teachers.

The transition to the Common Core WILL happen. Parents and students will have to buy in to the changes in order for the changes to be successful. However, it will be impossible for that to happen if teachers and administrators are not buying in. Please do me a favor and look at the changes you’ve embraced in your daily life. I love my iPad, DVD player in the van, lightweight running shoes, GPS, central air, 30 miles per gallon, healthcare…I could go on forever. These are all things that have changed and changed constantly since I was born. It’s time education changes as well.

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