If Everything Is Common Core,…

If everything was good, then nothing would be good.

from The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

I am almost finished with this excellent science fiction YA novel. It is about an alien invasion and their battle with humanity over our home planet. The above quote is from Cassie, the protagonist and one of the few human survivors. She was assessing her current situation in an attempt to make sense of everything and stay positive.

I don’t know why, but it reminded me of a little action research project I did this year. Every day at school, I receive many booklets, flyers, and envelopes from educational publishers. I was curious about how many of these companies advertised themselves as “Common Core-aligned”. So I started a pile. Anytime I received a new piece of mail with Common Core State Standards (CCSS) somewhere on it, I threw it on the pile.

Here is the pile at year’s end:


That’s a big pile of Common Core! Each artifact is a unique document. No two are alike. I was very surprised by the variety of products that could by aligned with CCSS. My two favorites were keyboarding software and interactive whiteboards.

Seeing this pile led me to consider the following question: If everything is Common Core, is nothing Common Core?

Author: Matt Renwick

Matt Renwick is an 18-year public educator who began as a 5th and 6th-grade teacher in Rudolph, WI. He now serves as an elementary principal for the Mineral Point Unified School District (http://mineralpointschools.org/). Matt also teaches online graduate courses in curriculum design and instructional leadership for the University of Wisconsin-Superior. He tweets @ReadByExample and writes for ASCD (www.ascd.org) and Lead Literacy (www.leadliteracy.com).

4 thoughts on “If Everything Is Common Core,…”

    1. Maybe I need to write a follow up post about what resources are truly essential for addressing the Common Core (a teaser – they are in schools right now).


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