Standards, kissing, and the voice of a teacher


It has been quiet here on Cloaking Inequity because we just buttoned up finals and grades at UT-Austin. So let’s get back to it and chat a little bit about standards. Since their roll-out across the nation in the 1990s, standards have continued front and center due to their linkage with high-stakes testing and accountability. I have discussed standards on CI here. I came across kissing as interesting metaphor for standards in the Foundations course final project of Amy Lippa and Jeff Wright. I share their interesting tidbit below.

A rather compelling analogy shared at a teacher interview is one of “kissing,” the curriculum. Described as a “document on steroids,” curriculum guides have become the apparent driver of what happens in the classroom. The notion of the teacher using it as what it is, a guide, has been abandoned. The curriculum, along with the co-pilot of the pacing guides, literally drives the teacher and her students through each day. Mrs. Apple, a suburban third grade teacher, described her experience as kissing the content each day with a quick smooch. She said that was literally all she had time to do – kiss the content and move on. She described feeling fortunate to work in a school district where the students learned “quickly,” so that she worried less about having to reteach, or “rekiss,” in her case. When asked if she took advantage of teachable moments when students seemed particularly interested in something, she reminded us again of the reality, and made a kissing motion at her planner sitting in front of her.

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Categories: Standards

Author:Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig is currently an Associate Professor of Educational Policy and Planning and African and African Diaspora Studies (by courtesy) at the University of Texas at Austin.

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