I was helping Lisa work on her assignment of aligning curriculum to Kansas State Standards when I suggested we stop immediately in order to allow the wonders of collaborative teachers, progress, and the internet solve our dilemma. What was wrong? Well, besides the fact that Lisa has been tasked with a job that's about five times as much work as what most teachers would have to do in order to align curriculum, it appears as if nobody else has ever done what she is trying to do, which, of course, is impossible. And that can only mean thousands have done it before and, for some reason, have decided not to share with the rest of the world. Sad no matter how you look at it. Unfortunately for Lisa, she has to look at it from several perspectives, all of them slightly different.
To start with, she has at least one social studies book that IS aligned to Common Core. Of course, Kansas decided not to adopt the evil Common Core in favor of its own version (which is the College and Career Readiness Standards with Kansas 15--15% more fluff to seem more rigorous/less common core-y). All that said, the one book is at least close. By the way, for this book, as well as all others, Lisa contacted the publishers to see if there were any alignments for Kansas Standards by the textbook companies. Not a chance. Are they the new C3 Standards? we don't know.
Next, we have books that are aligned to the 2003 NCSS standards. I told Lisa that would be a snap: someone out there aligned the NCSS Social Studies Standards to Common Core, College and Career Readiness, C3, and/or Kansas State Standards. Obviously, someone has done that, at some point, over the past decade. Right? Anyone? I started to wonder if social studies teachers have been too busy coaching sports to do this. At least Kansas would have some kind of matierals to help, since it's the state that wants its own standards. Well, I can't say that a "Lesson Plans" section with TWO TOTAL lesson plans is of any help, in any remote way, at all, whatsover.
Later, I discovered that the standards Lisa had been given for Social Studies was approved in 2005, whereas the new standards that we both found online seem to have been approved in 2013, meaning the standards she has been given that do not algn properly with anything are not even the right standards to begin with. Confusing? Not at all, as long as you are from Kansas and have a team of professional educators working to accomplish the task.
All this means that, at least for Social Studies, Lisa is better off trying to use the book and her own resources while aligning the materials to the Kansas standards all on her own, thus effectively negating each and every reason for having standards in the first place.
Next, we have English. Surely, people with the same college degree as me have created textebooks that address appropriate standards. Well, not exactly. I mean, not at all. While ELA textbooks DO exist that DO align to standards, the two being used at Lisa's school do not. One uses a lot of songs, and seemed archaic and hokey for middle to school when I took a look at it. The other one is made for homeschool and does not even seem to consider state standards. Honestly, people who think the standards are evil need to get over it. Just as true, however, is that administrators who want teachers to align curriculum to standards need to explicitly purchase ONLY books that are at least aligned to Common Core or CCR. For Lisa to have a dozen textbooks in four grade levels to align with NOT ONE SINGLE BOOK being aligned properly is truly a terrible lab experiment.
Is she supposed to create all the materials herself? Is she supposed to buy bettr books herself? Is she supposed to pretend she's getting them aligned? Is she supposed to continue to work until 9pm EVERY NIGHT OF THE WEEK? Like I said it's been done before, probably hundreds and maybe thousands of times, usually as an entire school district rather than by a solitary middle school teacher and her husband. While I know it was work, if all you did is align a textbook or some other state standards to Common Core, it's not really something you should avoid sharing. In fact, if the district paid you, it's the right of taxpayers to see the work. Besides, you should WANT taxpayers to see how hard you worked on aligning standards.
Please contact us or comment below if you've done alignment of Social Studies or Language Arts middle school texts to Common Core, College and Career Readiness, or Kansas Standards. In fact, let us know if you are looking for the same alignment. Satisfamily would be happy to post reference or cross-reference guides to help techers, parents, taxpayers, and students. I'm hoping that's the goal for at least one teacher out there.