Common Sense Learning

Photo Credit: Image by Amerigus

“Common Core-aligned” has become the quality control test by which we measure a legitimate education. A quick Google search will reveal droves of businesses selling academic resources and programs on the basis of their “alignment.” Teachers are feeling constant pressure to “hit the standards,” standards that are meant to get everyone on the same page. And yet, I think the majority of people are unclear what these standards are or why they are the new holy grail. Common sense tells us there has got to be a simpler, sounder way to educate our kids. Perhaps, common sense, which by definition is clear and sensible to most, would make a much better marker for a solid education.  

What would common sense-aligned learning look like? First, it would not strictly adhere to dozens of tedious standards. Common sense tells us that it is not possible or advisable to hold everyone to an exhaustive list of expectations that they cannot even remember. Instead, a common sense-aligned education would embrace a handful of fundamental self-evident truths about learning and human nature. I personally believe that the following five basic tenets are at the real common core of an enduring education. For more explanation of each, see the corresponding blog post.

Common Sense Standards

  • Education is training; not a performance, game or race to the top. (CSS #1)
  • Children want more autonomy as they grow…and that’s a good thing. (CSS #2)
  • Education should be shaped around the students, not the other way around. (CSS #3)
  • Kids’ emotional wellbeing matters in their education. (CSS #4)
  • Knowing what is best for kids requires knowing kids, each kid. (CSS #5)
Katy Burke

About The Author

Katy joined the staff at Princeton Learning Cooperative in 2015 and prior to that worked as an English teacher for 13 years in public high school. Fueled by her conviction that education is a personal journey that cannot be standardized, Katy left traditional schooling behind. Despite the professional risks, she refused to proctor the PARCC assessment, which she felt was harmful to students. At PLC, Katy has found an approach that honors the student and learning itself. She holds a degree in English and secondary education from The College of New Jersey.

Move over, Rigor
Move over, Rigor
17/07/2017 0