Monday, March 14, 2011

Goals of Secondary English

Question: What are the goals of secondary English today?

Answer: They are focused on the future, the next level of education, not on the here-and-now on which they should be focused.

Quote: “The amorphous goal of ‘College and Career Readiness’ may sound visionary, but it creates a kind of far-sightedness, in the optical sense of the word. We see clearly at a distance, but not so well the students and the age-appropriate goals in front of us. The Common Core State Standards are based on an imaginary college candidate or job applicant, not on the students we teach in the K-12 classroom. The discourse of the ‘dream deferred’ distorts our vision of literacy and disheartens the students we actually teach.” P. 116.

Comment: Ouch. As the author of this article said, “I have heard myself tell high school students ‘You’ll need to know this for college.’ Usually it was something I disliked teaching as much as they disliked learning it.” Let us return the focus to what our high school students are learning in the here-and-now, learning that has value in itself, for the present. We need to remember that. Why are we teaching what we are teaching if it’s only for the future? RayS.

Title: “The Dream Deferred: How ‘College and Career Readiness’ Looks from Below.” Bill Tucker. English Journal (January 2011), 115-116.

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