I’d like to have been at this NYPL panel on nonfiction put together by Betsy Bird. The four panelists are among the best of our nonfiction writers, and I would have loved to ask them how their job prospects were looking under the Common Core State Standards. With the CCSS (have we agreed this is the short form?) emphasis on using author-driven nonfiction in the classroom, you would think the outlook was rosy but I am worried. Already, I’m hearing people complain that the standards do not provide enough in the way of books approved for use, a wrongheaded whine that ignores the fact that the books that the CCSS documents do list are only meant to be examples. We tut about spoon-feeeding to students but some teachers seem to be eager to ingest by the same method. (And, as always, we will have publishers and other “content producers” happy to serve them.)
But to be fair to teachers, they and I are wondering just how the success of the CCSS is going to be evaluated. How is standardized testing going to measure the results of what is supposed to be unstandardized teaching? If I thought I was going to have my effectiveness measured “the old way,” I wouldn’t want to try anything new either.