National Standards (Draft) Announced

On Wednesday, the National Governor’s Association for Best Practices and Council of Chief State Schools Officers announced that their draft of a set of national standards is complete and ready for public feedback.

These same groups came out with a set of standards for college and career readiness back in September of 2009 (showing, at least, that they use the standard, backwards-planning model of outcomes based education (i.e., start with the end), and then worked from there to do the rest. I think that, at least, is a good thing. The standards only include English Language Arts and Mathematics (and probably won’t go beyond that due to all the curricular controversy about science (see Texas, for example) and typical skepticism about the arts. Maybe they’ll develop some for “Civics,” but even those are likely to be a lot more of a political hot potato than the two proposed.

Anyway, check them out here, and be sure to scroll down to the bottom of this page to take the survey and give them some feedback. Like it or not, it’s bound to be seen as an improvement on the wildly variant state to state standards (driven at least in part by No Child Left Behind requirements), and Illinois is already making moves to get on board. Which means their college readiness standards will likely be ours within three years, so now is the time to say your peace.

Halfway There

It’s the end-ish of Week 8, people. That makes it the midterm. According to this article, that means it’s time to take stock of our classes and our progress (while our students take stock of theirs).

We all need consistent feedback (from ourselves and others) and the reality of academic life is that if you don’t proactively create feedback loops, you’re unlikely to get the type of information you need to take control of your work life, teach efficiently and well, and enjoy the job you’ve worked so long and hard to obtain. …In other words, the middle of the semester is a great time to ask yourself and others:

  1. Am I on track?
  2. What’s holding me back? and
  3. How can I make a positive change?

The article has some interesting advice for soliciting feedback from students (and others) to make the most of the second half of the semester (for all involved). But for me, the ultimate message of the mid-term is this one…don’t give up, people; don’t give up…

h/t to Ivan Tejeda for the musical suggestion.