Sunday, December 6, 2015

Common Core and Liver Pizza

It must be time to talk about the Core again, because I've received a couple of "What's the big deal? The core doesn't bother me at all!" notes lately. And I continue to believe that the situation regarding Common Core has changed, and I think we are all perfectly positioned to deal with the Core (or whatever the craven politicians in your state have changed the name to).

To illustrate my point, let me share my recipe for delicious liver pizza.

First, gather ingredients. Get liver, pepperoni, sausage, onions, garlic, more garlic, blends of cheese that suit you, a good pre-made crust (because I don't want to wait all night for this), and a good spicy pizza sauce.

Now we're ready to begin.

STEP ONE: Throw liver in the garbage.

STEP TWO: Make a delicious pizza.

Look, if you want to tell me that your school has had great success with Common Core lessons and you have totally aligned everything to the standards with brilliant teacher-made lessons, that's fine. Understand, I don't believe you. In all these years, no teacher has yet been able to tell me what Common Core made them able to do that they couldn't do before, nor have they explained what they would have to stop doing tomorrow if Common Core vanished. It doesn't matter. Tell me what you like about your love for the Core. What I believe is that you made a delicious liver pizza. Or you made a terrible crappy liver pizza because you didn't throw the liver out. Or your administration bought you a frozen liver pizza, which may have included the liver, or not, or skipped the liver but instead added beetle dung and horse hair.

Nobody has any idea what the hell "Common Core" means anymore. There's the Core as re-interpreted by each state and the Core that's on the tests and the Core that's in the test prep and the Core that's in the textbook series your administration bought because it had "aligned to the Core" stickers on the cover (even if it wasn't) and the Core that people blog about and the Core that consultants go out and teach about and on and on and on.  Some have extra liver and some have no liver and some have liver, but it's from a wildebeast.

So my advice to teachers in the field these days? If you're still supposed to be getting The Standards worked into your lessons, I recommend you make a delicious liver pizza. Use your best professional judgment about instruction and teaching and your students and the content and create the best lessons you know how, and just call them Common Core or Utah Core or Uruguayan Five-Alarm Core or whatever-the-hell you're supposed to pretend to find helpful. Check off all the standards on your lessons. Do whatever you have to do to be allowed to teach, and when nobody is looking, throw away the liver.

(P.S. If you believe that a liver pizza would actually be tasty, I don't even know how to talk to you. Good day, sir. I say, good day.)


  1. For these words, and others you've written, I love you.
    I don't know you. Never met you.
    But your words have made me love you.
    (Too much sharing?)