December 10, 2012

Opinions Matter

The Common Core Standards are an opportunity to remake education in the 21st century. But, that opportunity seems to have been missed. It could be blamed on its writers making back room decisions. It could be blamed on the lack of real teacher input. But, when it really comes down to it, it's all about interpretation.

David Coleman, the new president of the College Board, has been identified as the architect of the Common Core. He has been quoted directly as saying that the world doesn't care about your opinions.

Opinions matter.

If they didn't matter then companies wouldn't spend so much on advertising. If they didn't matter, then I wouldn't vote. If they didn't matter, then people would be unable, or uninterested in making decisions.

Analyzing facts is absolutely important. We use facts to better inform and support our opinions. But, opinions will always be at the beginning of the process, starting us on the journey from belief to knowledge.

I am a theatre and English teacher. Everything that I teach my students is based on opinions that are then supported with an analysis of information, much of which should not be described as facts. As soon as we analyze and interpret anything, whether it be statistical data or anecdotal evidence, our interpretation of that information is formed based on our opinions and our ability to argue those opinions.

Common Core is going to be a roller coaster. It will raise us up and let us fall. It will be an opportunity, in many ways, to gain salvation from our overloaded and poorly designed state standards. But, no matter what, it should never come at the sacrifice of our opinions, or our constitutionally guaranteed freedom to express them.

But, that's just my opinion.

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