Common Core standards are appropriate for the “most academically able” students, says Louisa Moats in a Psychology Today interview. At least half of students will not be able to meet the standards. A nationally known expert on teaching reading, Moats helped write the standards.
Students doomed to “fail” core-aligned tests need a “range of educational choices and pathways to high school graduation, employment, and citizenship,” says Moats. Notice she doesn’t mention college.
The standards call for the use of “more challenging and complex texts,” which will benefit older students, she says. But that may hurt younger students.
Novice readers (typically through grade 3) need a stronger emphasis on the foundational skills of reading, language, and writing than on the “higher level” academic activities that depend on those foundations, until they are fluent readers.
Teachers aren’t prepared to teach the new standards, says Moats.
Classroom teachers are confused, lacking in training and skills to implement the standards, overstressed, and the victims of misinformed directives from administrators who are not well grounded in reading research.
. . . The standards treat the foundational language, reading, and writing skills as if they should take minimal time to teach and as if they are relatively easy to teach and to learn. They are not. The standards call for raising the difficulty of text, but many students cannot read at or above grade level, and therefore may not receive enough practice at levels that will build their fluency gradually over time.
Teachers have received no sensible guidance on how to teach students with learning disabilities, she adds.
What little time there is for professional development is being taken up by poorly designed workshops on teaching comprehension of difficult text or getting kids to compose arguments and essays. This will not be good for the kids who need a systematic, explicit form of instruction to reach basic levels of academic competence.
I’ve been around a long time, and this feels like 1987 all over again, with different words attached to the same problems. When will we ever learn?
This is a devastating critique.