The Common Core Shield

Common Core Shield

Meet the new Common Core Shield. It refers to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

The purpose of the Shield is to protect people, especially teachers and parents, from the unwavering acceptance of and submission to the CCSS.

The Shield can be used as clip art, in actual signs, in buttons, for a coloring break, etc. It comes in many sizes. Help yourself, it has a Creative Commons license that encourages sharing…

About the CCSS
Much has been written about the standards, and a lot of it lately, in push-back. Some parents, finally hearing about CCSS, have expressed outrage. Tea Party disciples are latecomers to the Push-back Party, but they have definitely joined in the conversation. Hmmm. I don’t have much in common with them…

There’s a lot to read and digest, if you are new to the discussion, but here are a couple of recent posts with excellent analysis, one from Anthony Cody: Common Core Standards: Ten Colossal Errors and another from Diane Ravitch: Mercedes Schneider Explains: Who Paid for the Common Core Standards.

Reality
The CCSS is already out there. Teachers are being “trained” in it. Two years ago, in my last year of teaching before retiring, part of the staff at my elementary school began receiving instruction in how to implement it. Interesting that it began with the primary teachers, responsible for implementing the section of the standards that has received the harshest criticism from educators and specialists in early childhood education. Speaking of criticism, there was absolutely NO questioning allowed about the standards. Unless you wanted to get in trouble.

Many teachers I know have simply given up any resistance to the CCSS. They shrug their shoulders and see it as a done deal. No choice. I guess it’ll be good. Some even find things to like about the standards, which is not surprising, as teachers are intrinsically looking for the good in everything, even the worst situations.

Using the Common Core Shield
It’s not recommended that most teachers display it in a prominent place – unless they’re looking for a bad evaluation. With few exceptions, such as principal Carol Burris, the vast majority of principals and school administrators are very much pushing forward with CCSS implementation and are not much interested in having a discussion about its worth.

So I recommend teachers be cautious about the public use of the Shield. Extra cautious. There may be teachers in your building who will tattle on you if you use it – really.

Parents – hopefully you will not feel so threatened. But your child’s future is at stake, so I understand caution in this arena, where feelings are as high as the stakes on the tests your kids are being forced to take.

Brief History
The Common Core Shield evolved from the Data Shield, which I designed three years ago. I intend to post the MS Word file I used to design both. It is easily customizable, for instance, to be a NCLB Shield, a RTTT Shield, a Duncan Shield – you get the idea… I’ll get it up here soon.

Looking ahead
I am well aware this shield idea is just a defensive stance, and maybe only a way to feel a little better about participating in things you know are wrong but cannot change…

I would like to come up with a positive icon for resistance to current edreform insanity, somehow capturing what teaching and learning is really supposed to be about. I’m looking and thinking, and I would welcome any advice in that direction. Thanks – Mark

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About Mark Ahlness

I am a retired teacher, with dreams of still making a difference.
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