I’ve been away from the internet for a while — finishing up coursework and passing my comprehensive exam — and I come back to find out that NCLB is going to be repealed and a new plan, Every Student Succeeds, will be signed into law.
Its name alone inspires a more positive approach to working with students. My question is, naturally, does this positivity extend beyond nomenclature?
My hope is that it does. The name implies that we, as teachers, will have the freedom to meet students where they are, connect to their interests, build on their individual strengths and thus make their educational experience meaningful for them. I don’t see how every student is going to succeed otherwise.
But then there’s this concept of success. What does it mean for every student to succeed? Who gets to decide what success is? Will it look the same for everyone? If so, I’m not sure we’re too much better off. Is success measured by an ability to pass a test? Or is it measured by a student’s potential to become a productive member of society (whatever that means)?
And what does this mean for the Common Core State Standards?
A friend of mine posted a link on Facebook the other day about Wednesday’s vote to make music a core class. Naturally, there was vitriol in the comments about the uselessness of music as a core class (this commenter also said they have no use for math and science, though I’m willing to argue they use the reasoning skills learned in these classes, even though they don’t use the content on a regular basis).
I’m willing to argue that comment this way: there are students who wouldn’t know they liked something without being forced to try it. I’m one of those students. I would never have known that I love making music were it not for my parents who made me participate. It’s not something I would have chosen for myself. Same with the sciences and math.
So I’ve read this article by David Warlick about Every Student Succeeds. What else should I read?