Enigma of Common Core

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Two online courses on teaching the Common Core education initiative of the Obama Administration that are just about as vague as the program.

The New Teacher Center offers us Common Core in Action: Literacy Across Content Areas. “In the first section of this course, you will review the Common Core shifts and be introduced to the Literacy Design Collaborative model. Then you will examine the template tasks. Next you will learn what makes a quality task and design one of your own. You’ll also have opportunities to explore Literacy Design Collaborative resources to support your learning of the model. Finally you will either revise the task you previously wrote or design a new one, based on feedback from your peers, and then create a brief plan of how you could use your task.”

Stanford Online offers Constructive Classroom Conversations: Mastering Language for the Common Core Standards. According to the syllabus:

“The four main objectives of this course are for participants to:

  1. “Develop a practical understanding of academically-engaged classroom discourse, with emphasis on what this looks like in linguistically diverse classrooms that are focused on teaching Common Core State Standards;
  2. “Listen more carefully to student talk and use a discourse analysis tool to analyze student discourse, focusing on how interactions build disciplinary language, knowledge, and skills.
  3. “Learn and practice practical teaching strategies for building students’ abilities to engage in constructive face-to-face interactions;
  4. “Collaborate with other educators and build professional relationships that result in an online community focused on improving students’ abilities to engage rich academic discourse across disciplines and grade levels.”

Common Core’s critics have argued that it is vague and meaningless, at best and intrusive at its worst. Maybe they are onto something.


Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.
If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail mal.kline@academia.org.


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