Melanie Kurdy raises an excellent point about the last hearing…
I would like to review a point that was discussed briefly at the July 31 hearing that I believe is very important, “expectations for students”.
I believe the debate we are having should be about improving student learning for all children in Michigan. This is why we are discussing which standards are better, where there is evidence of student learning and so on. We hope that changes we make in education will improve overall outcomes for children.
Representative Price indicated she spoke to a teacher who said it was hard to teach Shakespeare to children of migrant workers. I certainly would not argue this teacher’s point.
But the question is, what do we do? Do we decide to make it easier for teachers and students by using a more simple piece of literature? Or do we elevate the expectation with the teacher to suggest that we must work together to find a way to inspire all children to appreciate the value of dedicating the effort needed to doing this hard work because that is the essence of learning?
Don’t all our children deserve teachers who are capable of teaching great literature, teachers who want to teach great literature to all their students? This represents the “equity of opportunity” in K-12 education.
Behind the decision to choose an easier piece of literature lurks the “soft discrimination of low expectations”, which, in this example, applies to both the teacher and the student. As Professor Moore said, the Common Core standards elevate non-fiction reading to an equivalence of great literature. This enables, and many fear, motivates teachers to take the easy route, the path of least resistance, at the expense of truly moving our children away from superficial learning.
We must embrace standards that really do reflect the high expectations needed for all students by all teachers to elevate the educational environment so all children have the opportunity to become their personal best.