Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Since when is evil spelled C-C-S-S?

Popularity was never my forte. In elementary school, I was a dork. Apparently, wanting to read during recess is a problem. In high school, I was a freak. Better a freak than geek, right? In college, I was invisible.

You see, the bar scene wasn’t really baby friendly.

So, I figure, why change direction now?

I know it’s not the popular sentiment right now. So, I am just going to say it. Common Core State Standards aren’t evil. They aren’t the devil incarnate. But, they also aren’t the answer to all of education’s ills.

In the past months, I’ve noticed a considerable increase of anti-CCSS rants on Twitter, Facebook, and even traditional television networks. Many of these rants are authored by intensely dedicated teachers, fueled by their passion for kids. Some of the rants are authored by crazy conservatives who still think Arne Obama personally wrote the standards himself. And I respect these teachers. Not so much the crazies.

From what I can tell, the arguments against CCSS range from increased standards will hurt the helpless children to the federal government and corporations are taking over the world. Such fallacious exaggerations take very realistic concerns that our country needs to address and warp them into juicy sound bytes. Yes, I’d like to discuss how we can take care of the whole child. I’d also like our society to be more cognizant about government and corporate influence. But, these ideas and their relationship to educational standards cannot be deliberated adequately in the current finger-pointing, sound-byte-loving environment. 

So, with all of this being said, what’s the answer? How do we tap into the positive aspects of CCSS and avoid the pitfalls? Who is responsible for this? That’s easy: we—the professional educators—do what we do with kids every day. We teach. We learn. We teach again.

Okay . . . maybe it’s not easy, but it is the truth.

Friday, June 21, 2013

AAC, DOK, SWSCD . . . Oh, My!

Well, I gotta be honest: when I saw the job post for “Item Writer,” I wasn’t exactly jumping out of my Chucks in anticipation.
Item Writer Wanted Ad (I learned how to write Alt Text at this job!)

However . . .

I am a teacher, so pulling in a little extra dough without having to wait tables with my former students did motivate me enough to update the ole resume. So, when I finally accepted the temporary position via CETE in conjunction with DLM, I realized that I had just ruined my chances of wasting my summer away at the pool, drunk on books.  And, frankly, that was my central concern.

Just three weeks later, I received my first paycheck.  And, as you may suspect, I’ve already spent most of the money earned pounding out test questions. Nevertheless, I do have some things a bit more enduring than my bank account balance to show for the experience thus far:

  • DLM is creating something that has never, ever, ever been done before, and I am lucky to play a minor role in its efforts.
  •  Flying a plane while building it is hard. Really freaking hard.
  • Students with significant cognitive disabilities, like Scott, learn in different ways, so they must show what they’ve learned in different ways. But, they still learn.

I have five weeks left in my temporary job. As the haze of nodes and Alt Text and TEs and EECMs settle into my brain, I thank my lucky stars that my misguided greed and pride dragged me into this project.