The Pendulum SWINGS!

My friend Ms. Brown moved here to our little rural community after retiring from a successful career as a secondary English teacher in Detroit (she came with her husband, who took a high-level job in a mining supply company–big business here in coal country). She accepted a job teaching Language Arts in our small junior high school.

When she first came, we were in the throes of NCLB and the school district kept a tight chokehold on English teachers, who were only allowed to teach certain texts, certain grammar stuff, certain root words, and certain assignments–and all THIS was run on a district-wide pacing guide.

Now, however, along with many other states, our district has embraced Common Core Standards.

“And now,” smiles Ms. Brown, “they’re telling me to do the very instructional strategies that I wanted to use–but was shot down–when I first got here.”

Yes, the pendulum swings in education. But that’s too bad! Why not have allowed Ms. Brown, at the outset, to do what she does best–teach in a cross-curricular, creative way with a variety of assignments and with literature she deemed appropriate for our kids? Of course Common Core Standards provides literature choices, but of luckily, Ms. Brown (and I) both like them.


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