College & Workforce Readiness

Feedback on Common Core English/Language Arts Standards

By Catherine Gewertz — April 01, 2010 2 min read
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In the same spirit as my post yesterday, which offers up at least a teensy slice of the feedback on the math portion of the common standards, here are some responses to the English/language arts section.

Some of these have been formally submitted on the initiative’s website as feedback during the public comment period (which ends today). Others have been issued by their organizations to contribute to a public dialog, but have not been officially submitted as common-core feedback.

Keep in mind that many organizations are not submitting feedback online during the public-comment period because they already shared their views with the two groups leading the initiative, the National Governors Association and the Chief State School Officers, as the documents were being written. Feedback shared in that way remains private, unless those who gave it choose to release it. The NGA and CCSSO are using it to shape the standards, but not making it publicly available. Likewise, the 5,000-plus comments submitted during the public-comment period are not going to be posted; the plan is to summarize them and post that summary.

So I will post some of the comments, analyses and critiques as best I can. (Remember, too, that I include reactions to the common standards in my stories, such as in this one about the public draft being released, and this one about states’ feedback shaping an earlier draft.)

Here is a sprinkling of feedback on the ELA portion:

Longtime media literacy advocates Frank Baker and Richard Beach call for revisions that better address the importance of building these skills. The National Association for Media Literacy Education urges better attention to visual/viewing literacy.

The Association of Literary Scholars and Critics expresses concern that the study of literature and literary history are not sufficiently reflected in the standards.

The National Council of Teachers of English made several sets of comments on earlier drafts of the standards, which can be found here, but has not issued another set on the version that is now posted for comment. You can read what NCTE folks are saying about the common standards in discussions on the group’s Ning (if you want to post a comment on the Ning, you have to register).

UPDATE: A new analysis of both the English/language arts and the math portions was published today by the Pioneer Institute in Massachusetts, which has been pretty critical of the common standards thus far. The critique is here.

I’ve linked you to these in previous blog posts, but in the “roundup” spirit, here they are again: The critique by Sandra Stotsky, a member of the Massachusetts board of education who helped shape that state’s widely admired standards; the analysis by Common Core, a group that advocates strong content knowledge along with skills and gave the ELA portion of the common standards an A-minus; and a critique by two experts brought in by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, who gave the ELA portion a B.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.