Schmoker says: If we want record numbers of students to succeed in postsecondary studies and careers, an ancient, accessible concept needs to be restored to its rightful place at the center of schooling: argument. In its various forms, it includes the ability to analyze and assess our facts and evidence, support our solutions, and defend our interpretations and recommendations with clarity and precision in every subject area. Argument is the primary skill essential to our success as citizens, students, and workers.

The new common-core standards, which include the best English/language arts standards to date, fully acknowledge this. They affirm unequivocally that “argument is the soul of an education.” But, alas, unless adjustments are made, these new standards documents could drown out and obscure the welcome emphasis they put on argument.

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What do you think? I’m quite enjoying the discussions, arguments and reflection on the common-core standards – I believe that even if the standards are not fool-proof (which they will not be, I’m pretty certain), we are having some great discussion about what should be taught, to what depth and across which amount of time. That certainly doesn’t hurt our profession.