Archive for July 8th, 2013

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National Core Arts Standards Feedback

July 8, 2013

Rob Westerberg’s Comments

Thanks to Rob Westerberg, York High School music educator, for writing this blog post.

IMG_5941Why in the world would I bother to take time out of my Summer vacation to review and give feedback to the National Standards draft? It’s July, I’m in the middle of some well deserved “R&R”, if I have any free time it’s with family and friends, and this is the time of year I need to disconnect for awhile from my profession. Can’t this wait and is my feedback really important?

You tell me. We are looking to adopt a formal document in Maine that we will be held accountable to, and it may be the National Core Arts Standards. Do you want to have a voice in what that document looks like? The National Standards draft is an attempt to reflect real life in our real classrooms with our real kids. Does it? I love/abhor/like/hate the current National Standards – and this document WILL be replacing it. Do you have an opinion of the difference between the two? “My opinion is never asked!” It is now. “My opinion is irrelevant!” Not in this case it isn’t. “I don’t know enough to give good feedback!” If you are a teacher, you know MORE than enough to give good feedback. “I’m a High School or post secondary teacher and these are just the K-8 standards so far.” If you know anything, you know that the education that occurs at these grade levels has the greatest impact on our students… and this draft is consistent with the direction you can expect in the 9-12 draft when its released.

In an earlier blog post I suggested that we need to look at the new standards draft through the following criteria:

* can it be effectively be utilized as a powerful advocacy tool, articulating how and why what we do is academic and essential instruction

* does it show how staffing and student face-time must be increased in our schools to meet academic expectations

* does it provide a common starting point for educators within and ACROSS school districts to have meaningful, collaborative discussions around curriculum

* does it provide a common starting point for educators within and ACROSS school districts to have meaningful, collaborative discussions around instruction

* does it provide a common starting point for educators within and ACROSS school districts to have meaningful, collaborative discussions around assessment

* does it direct our K-12 conversations so that every school district in Maine has a continuous program of studies that is sequential both in concept and in practice

*  does it expand our knowledge, discovering new connections, and continually reevaluating – assisting us in our own process of being lifelong learners

Reserve an hour or so this week or next to spend some quality time with the document draft and then take the survey to give your feedback. As I remind my students from time to time, “You’re allowed to be passive in the process, and you’re allowed to have opinions on the product, but you’re not allowed to do both.” From now through July 15th, it is OUR time to impact the process, and the product will be a better one for it if we do.

Please visit the NCCAS website at http://nccas.wikispaces.co/NCCAS+June+30th+Public+Review for detailed instructions and the draft of the PK – 8 visual and performing arts standards.

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