Common Core standards will include standards for school climate “down the road,” said Kevin Jennings, head of the Department of Education”s Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools in a Phi Delta Kappan interview. Jennings, founder of GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network), wants all students to be free from harassment and to “feel like they belong.”
If we don’t get this one right, the other (academic) ones don’t matter.
That’s a great way to politicize and ultimately destroy the common standards effort, writes Rick Hess, a fan of “fewer, clearer and higher” standards.
Jennings raises further red flags when he concedes that we have not determined “the definition of school climate,” though he says it “does not include air conditioning” but does include kids feeling “emotionally safe.” Maybe it’s my cynical streak, but that sounds like a summons to social agendas, culture clashes, and political fisticuffs. In other words, the stuff that sinks standards.
Agreeing on common academic standards is going to be plenty tough enough without trying to define, measure and improve students’ emotional well-being.
Never mind, a DOE spokesman tells Robert Pondiscio. Jennings “was taken out of context.”