Thursday, April 18, 2013

Common Core—Fit for Afterschool Programming

Isn’t it amazing that the one thing both the left and right can agree on is trashing the notion of the Common Core?  In a post by Andrea Neal, an adjunct scholar and columnist with Indiana Policy Review Foundation, she begins by stating “When right and left wing activists find themselves on the same side of a controversy, it’s worth probing why.”  She goes on to say    that both question who will profit financially from “this new set of national academic standards for English and math”, but they differ on other points.  The right “is concerned about the imposition of a ‘federal curriculum’ and the loss of local control [while the] left fears ‘one size fits all’ instruction that will turn teachers into widget makes whose primary purpose is to prepare students for testing, not learning.”

This is all interesting because to me the central question of the Common Core is will it focus on the learner and the learning, rather than on a program or the educator?  While we can certainly select one program or another and no one can argue that we need high-quality professional educators, when the end you seek is the implementation of a particular program or you are focused strictly on the delivery system, the recipient, the learner, is often ignored. 
We know that effective learning requires the learner to be active, support the development of mastery, broaden horizons, is meaningful to the person learning, and requires that the person works collaboratively within a team.  When I look at Common Core, I see the possibility of focusing on the learner and the learning experience.  I see the opportunity to help youth develop critical Habits of the Mind.  I see education focusing on the future needs of business and country.  I see the possibility of reforming a K-12 System that no longer is effective or efficient. 
To learn more about the Common Core and the work that Consult 4 Kids is doing to prepare afterschool staff to support this active learning, check out our website at
To read the full article by NEAL :

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