Did you check out Steve's elevator speech on Day 5? Pretty awesome, right? Here is the second one he emailed me.
"Appealing to an audience that recognizes school math isn't working well enough."
Regardless of what you may think of the Common Core, you must recognize that school mathematics hasn’t been working for far too many students. You’ve probably heard that the K–12 mathematics program in the United States has been aptly characterized in many rather uncomplimentary ways: underperforming, incoherent, fragmented, poorly aligned, unteachable, unfair, narrow in focus, skill-based, and, of course, “a mile wide and an inch deep.” Most teachers are well aware that there have been far too many objectives for each grade or course, few of them rigorous or conceptually oriented, and too many of them misplaced as we prematurely ram far too much computation down too many throats. It’s not a pretty picture and helps to explain why so many teachers and students have been set up to fail and why we’ve created the need for much of the intervention that test results seem to require.
These are realities that the Common Core has been designed to fix. How? First, the new standards are common. No longer will publishers cater to a few large states and stuff their books with the union of fifty sets of demands. No longer will our assessments be developed by the lowest bidder and overwhelmingly comprised of low-level, multiple-choice items.
Instead, the prospects of a Common Core set of standards are for shorter, more web-based, better-focused instructional materials and for computer-adaptive, computer-delivered, and instantaneously-scorable constructed response-item assessments. Second, ignore the misrepresentations and take heart in the fact that the Common Core standards are coherent. These standards replace the vagueness of strands (number, measurement, geometry, statistics, and algebra) with domains, clusters, and well-conceived grade-to-grade progressions of standards. Moreover, they are fair. Many procedures that we have come to teach at grade x, have been moved to grade x + 1, giving us all a chance to build prerequisite knowledge and slow down what has become a drag race through the curriculum. And, lastly, they are teachable. There are only about thirty standards—of varying sizes and depth—at each grade level, resulting in a far more manageable teaching load than the forty to fifty objectives per year that many of us now face. If you care about your children, if you care about readiness for citizenship and the workplace, and if you care about our future leaders making informed decisions, you should be fighting for, not against, the Common Core.
~ Steve Leinwand
Again, I want to thank Steve for taking the time to prepare two awesome elevator speeches. Hopefully, they've inspired you as much as they've inspired me. Maybe you can use parts in your own elevator speech when the time presents itself. It's not too late to add your own in the comments. Tomorrow, I'll post the last and final elevator speech, which happens to be my two minute speech for my district.