Really! The book, Tap Dancing to Work: How a Small Group of Teachers Can Conquer the Common Core, provides the means for teachers to work together to enhance standards-based instruction, improve outcomes for students, and put the joy back into teaching. Authors Michael White, Bonnie Grimm, Lindsey Young and Bob Stark have developed a practical, systematic way for any group of educators to get better results for students.
The transition to standards-based education has been underway for years, so why has it been so difficult for school systems to implement standards-based grading? One reason, I believe, is that educators inadvertently underestimate the magnitude of the change in terms of tradition. Letter grades, and the traditional way in which most students are still graded, is deeply ingrained in our culture. Parents, teachers, community members... all of them, as students, were graded using traditional methods. Nearly all colleges continue to use traditional methods of grading.
Is the age of accountability in Education turning you into someone that you don't want to be? School systems have been under significant scrutiny for years, and the pressure has mounted over time. With politicians, the press, members of the public, and governing boards raising the bar and expecting better results with fewer resources and given greater challenges, all educational leaders are under great stress. Actually, I would go so far as to say that it is beyond stress. Many school leaders are actually under threat. Make changes, or else. Improve scores, or else.
It's not fun to write about mistakes, or even to think about them. But there is a mistake that is rampant in our schools right now - and it's time that we learn from it and move on. Don't cringe when you read this! We are using accommodations to mask the need to improve students' fluency with math facts. There - I've said it!
School systems can't be complacent when it comes to helping students choose a healthy and productive lifestyle, but effective drug and violence prevention programs are often a low priority in our high schools. While the primary mission of schools is to promote academic progress, students must be safe and healthy before they can excel academically. A holistic approach to education is needed to ensure that all students are prepared to thrive in school and meet with success as adults. However, it is difficult for educators to 'fit everything in'.