The Superhero That is Going to Save Writing in America
6/20/2013 1:44 AM
We all need a superhero to swoop in once in a while to change the outcome of history and give us hope for a better and brighter future. On the last national writing assessment, less than a quarter of elementary students, and less than a third of 12th graders, could write proficiently. This is a terrible and disheartening statistic. American education needs a superhero right now. This superhero may not be dressed in blue and red, wear a cape, and have the ability to fly, but she does have a special super power that will change the world. Her name is Common Core Standards, and it is exactly what America needs to turn around writing in our schools.
Writing has been neglected. Anyone that disagrees just needs to look at the most recent writing results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The Common Core Standards are going to improve student writing proficiency by providing a benchmark for teachers to follow that will create a clear, concise, and consistent framework for students across the nation, no matter what their socioeconomic status is. Currently, educational standards in America are a patchwork of assessments and learning standards. Writing standards mean something different in California, or Florida, or Illinois. Common Core is the corridor to consistency. The Common Core is going to raise the bar and ask students to think like writers and demand more from students than ever before. Students will be challenged, tested, and pushed. Greatness doesn’t come easy. The Common Core is the catalyst that is going to spur the greatness we need.
Every hero has his arch nemesis and team of villains set out to destroy him. The villain here is the back lash from the parents and educators who oppose the Common Core. Teachers are concerned about teaching a program that has never been tested on public school students. Yes, this can be a scary thought, but without change, nothing great would ever be achieved. Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” We need to change the way education is taught, now, more than ever before. Our current way of teaching isn’t working. Now is the time for change. Another concern of parents and educators is the idea that the Common Core is a ploy by major publishers to use the Common Core as a way to sell material and make a profit. Though I can’t speak for other companies out there, I can speak for myself.
Writing is my passion in life. WriteSteps was not developed out of a desire for profit. It evolved from an experience of fulfillment. Writing is a difficult subject to teach. Without help, it takes a huge commitment and a long time to do it well. I took a pay cut when I decided to focus on writing instruction and WriteSteps. But knowing there’s a world of students finding their writing voices is enormously gratifying. You can’t put a price on seeing the way students’ eyes light up when they finish a writing piece. It is my dream to see 100% of America’s students proficient in writing by the time they graduate. One-third of graduating 12th graders proficient in writing is just not good enough. We can’t sit back and be idle about this. I won’t stop sharing WriteSteps with teachers around the country until that goal has been reached.
I don’t want any teacher, anywhere, to be limited by an incomplete view of writing. This is what Common Core writing demands and why it is the superhero that is going to save writing. Superheroes have a way of showing up just in the nick of time when we feel like all hope is lost. Thank you Common Core-you are the champion we need.
Dedicated to writing success,
Founder and CEO of WriteSteps