Dear Common Core English Standards: Can we talk?

Yes! My job is to educate all the children in my classroom, with their diverse interests and future plans. I know they won’t all pursue careers in science, yet I try to get them to like and appreciate science, hoping that at the very least they’ll keep this in mind when they become adult citizens and voters. Reading and writing are meaningful creative outlets as well as ways to connect to the world and to other people — especially in our increasingly digital world. While close reading and literary analysis can help a reader make those connections, they don’t have to be the end goal.

Daniel Katz, Ph.D.

Back in 1993, when I had barely been teaching in my own high school English classroom for a month, I had an epiphany.  I looked around my classroom of ninth graders and realized, consciously, that they were not all going to become high school English teachers.  As epiphanies go, I admit that does not sound exceptional, but it was actually foundational for the rest of my career in education.  The reason for this was that I simultaneously realized that I was teaching English because of the lifelong qualitative relationship that I had with reading and writing in English.  My father probably read “Oscar the Otter” to me every night for a month when I was four.  As a young reader, I often wondered if I would ever have a friend as cool as Encyclopedia Brown’s sidekick, Sally Kimball.  Later, I was positive that I found a lifelong friend in Charles…

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