Carl Anderson burned this image in my mind last week. He never fails to make an impression on me, but this one was unexpected. It wasn’t the teachers and smiling students writing under a rainbow amongst a field of flowers and unicorns that I was expecting. Far from it.
This is the image that distracted me for some strange reason. Though I will never be a huge fan of Common Core State Standards, I’ve never “hated” them. Accepting WHAT we teach will always evolve. Just like everyone else, I’ve worked within my little world to figure out HOW to make it happen. It isn’t like I was going to cease their existence.
Ignorance can be bliss. I’ve been irritated by this man ever since. How can something David Coleman, lead architect of the CCSS (who, incidentally, has absolutely no experience teaching K-12) , said two years ago bother me now?
Because I care about what other people think and how they feel. I teach my kids to care about themselves and have empathy for others. I believe in a world that cares.
When looking at Coleman’s quote in context, it appears that he was directing his comments toward narrative– toward stories. Our world is built on stories. Ruth Ayres reminded us in her poignant keynote at last year’s All Write Conference that our stories matter.
Let’s pretend that our stories don’t matter, Mr. Coleman. Why in the hell did you prioritize opinion writing? Did you forget that nobody cares what we think?
I’m so confused.
I will fight this distraction to remember some of the main points of his presentation:
How he used Tom Friedman, Tony Wagner, Young Zhao, & Ken Robinson to call on us to be agents for change. That we are losing creativity. The relationship between nations with high test scores having the lowest creativity. That if you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original. That it is the creative people who have initiative.
He spoke to the trend to offer less choice during writing workshop, with a connection that offering choice will unleash creativity. Because when students make choices during writing workshop, like through topic and genre, they are taking initiative.
The start to All Write 2013 reaffirms that not everything is right in our profession.