The Core of Teaching: Fear of accountability should not cripple a classroom



A main criticism of the Common Core State Standards is that it creates an assessment-reliant curriculum, without promoting in-depth understanding.  Accountability falls into the laps of the schools and, to an even greater extent, the teachers to bring their students up to the state standards.  There is the immediate risk of “teaching to the test” due to fear, as consequences for students’  poor test results may jeopardize job security.   Classes essentially become test-prep.

But in reality, a classroom is what the teacher makes of it, with or without core requirements.  Minimally, the standards provide a framework for a teacher, not a straight-jacket, as teacher Vicki Davis1 put it.  As she emphasizes, “Most straight jackets worn in education are fabrications of the mind.”  The common core encourages teachers to tailor their lesson plans to fit their own students and classrooms.  It is true that a teacher may follow the standards to a tee and have all of his or her students pass…

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