Task force recommendations call for hundreds of changes, but mostly in wording of questions and not so much in substance.
A task force named by the Christie administration to review and revise the standards did indeed call for changing the approach to teaching Shakespeare, making his works more an example of good literature than required reading.
But as consequential as that may seem to some, Christie’s claims of vanquishing the Common Core from New Jersey public schools might seem curious to those reading the actual advisory panel’s recommendations released last week.
Of the more than 200 recommendations, a vast majority seem to focus more on wording than on meaning. For example, many of the recommendations call for adding language requiring students to “make relevant connections” in order to analyze and comprehend the subject matter.
Another favorite recommendation was adding language calling for students to “reflect on (e.g. practical knowledge, historical/cultural context, and background knowledge)” the material.
Some of the recommendations are certainly significant, including those regarding to the teaching of Shakespeare, but others simply clarify arcane language.
But whether this amounts to a rewriting – let alone elimination — of the Common Core appears dubious, at best.
After all, New Jersey continues to use the new online PARCC testing aligned to the standards, a track backed in a report released last week by a second Christie task force.
Judge for yourself. Click through to NJ Spotlight for some before-and-after examples of changes recommended in the task force’s report. The added or changed words are underlined.
Listen to the audio for the full interview with NewsWorks Tonight’s Dave Heller.