Common Core and The Author
  • Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise.
  • Analyze how an author draws on and transforms source material in a specific work (e.g., how Shakespeare treats a theme or topic from Ovid or the Bible or how a later author draws on a play by Shakespeare).
  • Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed).
  • Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure specific parts of a text (e.g., the choice of where to begin or end a story, the choice to provide a comedic or tragic resolution) contribute to its overall structure and meaning as well as its aesthetic impact.
The following are from grades 9-12 CCC/ELA literature standards.  I have great difficulty with these standards from a theoretical standpoint.  They are presented as if there is a “right” answer, as if we can call up the author to give readers the correct answer for our multiple choice test.   Common Core places far too much emphasis on authorial intent, and that is flawed when most of the secondary canon is Dead White Guys whom we can’t poke for answers.   Only one standard addresses interpretation:
  • Analyze multiple interpretations of a story, drama, or poem (e.g., recorded or live production of a play or recorded novel or poetry), evaluating how each version interprets the source text. (Include at least one play by Shakespeare and one play by an American dramatist.)
But even that isn’t asking for the STUDENT’S interpretation.  It’s asking for other people’s interpretation, with no springboard forward into the “Now, why does this matter?” pool.   Common Core does nothing but emphasize the student’s relationship with the text doesn’t matter.  It makes them passive readers and makes them feel as though their opinions don’t matter because they aren’t the Right Answer. As much as I loathed New Criticism for its strict adherence to The Text Stands Alone, at least that is preferable than this idea that we can construct authorial intent out of thin air.  
I find the Common Core Speaking and Listening standards insulting.

I went to the CC website to double check, and sure enough they are the EXACT same for 9/10 as 11/12.

How in the hell is that supposed to help me build my standards-based learning?

I know Indiana is still on her standards, and we HAVE speech standards, but COME ON.

I was trying to be creative and match current projects with BOTH standards, and the CC standards give NO specific guidelines as to the TYPES of speeches should be done.

So I have to jump over the writing standards for speech standard ideas.

This is ridiculous.  

A Common Core worry:

I had a great high school experience.  So great, that I was willing to come back and work there.  But I couldn’t help think there were some gaps in my learning.  I know first hand now that not everything can be taught, but when I went to college, I got a lot of, “You haven’t read _____?”

I was able to weasel my way into honors classes during my junior and senior year (long story about the weaseling part).  It was only in those classes people regularly read long novels and works of literature.  In the “Core 40” (college prep, non-AP) classes, they would do maybe one long work a semester.

I covered all the great novels of American Lit, the big players of British Lit, and snuck in some American Drama in my comp class, but people looked at me funny for never having read The Iliad, the Odyssey, Antigone, Oedipus Rex, Don Quixote, or more Dickens (I got an abridged version of Great Expectations in ninth grade.)  I was behind all the theater majors.  I actually looked up a list of “must read plays” and actually read some and then spark-noted the rest so I at least knew what people were talking about.  (I would later be ahead of all English majors in all things Drama.)

My point is, with Common Core deemphasizing longer works of literature to focus more on informational “real world,” text, I worry I’m going to send fleets of students to college who don’t know how to read a long book if they don’t already do it for fun. There is so little as it is, I feel. I’m going to send students to college who won’t recognize basic titles of the canon of literature.  

In the Common Core curriculum guide, the novels are THERE.  Common Core themselves are not throwing longer works out the window.  They encourage much more supplementation with informational text.  But I’m concerned about the curriculum “coaches” and test writers who see the picture much, much differently than I do.  

A Misconception with Common Core

The Common Core state standards to not require students to be taught only or even mostly nonfiction in English / Language Arts classes. Instead, it calls for 70% nonfiction and 30% literary texts by 12th grade ACROSS THE CURRICULUM!!! This means that the 70% is basically  made up of content area nonfiction for science classes, math classes, social studies classes, etc. So for example, a social studies class would be examining historical documents and a science class might look at articles in science magazines. The other 30% then basically belongs to English / Language Arts classes. So literature within these classes will not be displaced. In fact it will probably be given more attention because ALL teachers will take the time to teach literacy, and it won’t just fall into the ELA teacher’s lap. 

In a speech last year at the New York State Education Building, Coleman derided the personal essays that characterize most writing in primary and secondary schools. “Forgive me for saying this so bluntly, the only problem with . . . [that] writing is as you grow up in this world you realize people really don’t give a [expletive] about what you feel or what you think,” Coleman said, according to a recording. “What they instead care about is, can you make an argument with evidence, is there something verifiable behind what you’re saying or what you think or feel that you can demonstrate to me? It is rare in a working environment that someone says, ‘Johnson, I need a market analysis by Friday, but before that I need a compelling account of your childhood.’ ”

Common Core State Standards in English spark war over words - The Washington Post

KATRINABADINA?!!  Is this the meeting you were in?!

lhuddles replied to your postEducation-related bills up in this legislative session in Indiana:

why is indiana anti-common core when indiana already adopted the CC standards in august 2010? i thought common core was tied to nat’l gov’t money, too. veryyyy interesting

I know!

I have no idea who is backing or proposing that bill.  But you’re right, we did adopt CC.  I think we have to shift in the 13-14 school year…but I’m not sure.

I can understand why someone would be AGAINST CC…espcially if it’s tied to money.

For one, that’s educational blackmail (ask me how I feel about Race to the Top).  States and corporations should not be forced into doing something that may not be in the best interests of their citizens JUST TO GET BADLY NEEDED MONEY.

In my time looking over CC, I find them painfully….general.  The Indiana standards are actually quite comprehensive, and do a GREAT job of giving very specific examples for nearly every single sub-standard in English.  The CC Social Studies standards look no different than the CC ELA standards.   Indiana’s history standards are actually specific about time periods and geography–even Indiana history (grade 4).  

I also have a problem with CC from a “one size does not fit all” perspective.  Indiana students are not the same as Montana’s or New York’s.  I feel like CC strips some of the states’ cultural identities.  I know the idea of “all of our students are learning at the same pace!  we’re on the same page!” has the best of intentions, but will this approach give us the best of outcomes?