Transformation is coming soon to our schools. Last fall, when scanning the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) standards for civics, I read that third graders learned about the evolution of rights; fifth graders learned that principles and liberties are still evolving and were asked an inquiry question: Were the Founding Fathers correct in keeping the Constitution open for flexibility and interpretation?
Why? Sixth graders were taught that good government means that government provides for the common good; eighth graders learned that rights and responsibilities of citizens continue to evolve; and high schoolers were taught about market economy, as opposed to free market economic principles. It was noted that the social studies subcommittees used a variety of resources, such as the Singapore National Curriculum, the Massachusetts Curriculum Framework, and the Finland National Core Curriculum. Recently I wanted to print out this information so as to avoid relying on brief, handwritten notes. When I went to the CDE website, in place of the information I sought was transformation.
I discovered that the Colorado Academic Standards and the Colorado English Language Proficiency standards are serving "... as the foundation of Colorado's education reform agenda. [These standards] have the potential to transform teaching and learning in Colorado. This type of transformation is called 'second order' transformation which is considered 'deep change,' a transformation that alters a system in fundamental ways and requires new ways of thinking and acting." The transition phase is 2011-2013 and the Transition Action Planning (TAP) guide helps schools and personnel prepare for implementation of the standards in all classrooms by school year 2013-2014. The steps for implementation include but are not limited to: curriculum development, modification of instructional practices, professional development for all levels of educators, alignment of a district's organizational design, enhancement of communication, and collaboration specific to standards implementation. Students are taught concepts, not facts. The school day will be about self-direction, information literacy and collaboration, all with the goal of producing "workforce ready" young adults. It's about global citizens and global communities. (The real meaning of the words stakeholders, collaboration and diversity are topics for another discussion. They sound wonderful, but in truth, stand for something else.)
In addition, there is the National Education Data Model which will collect massive amounts of personal data, including family income range, which will be available to a long list of public agencies. It begins on a student's first day of school and will follow him through college graduation.
All of this information and more is easily available online. Parents, citizens, and taxpayers: please make time to learn about what is happening in the schools. This is control from the top. Must be the new way to think and act.