Ever since I first saw him on YouTube giving a Common Core message to teachers in New York State, I’ve had a real problem with David Coleman. Coleman announced to the teachers that our message to students should essentially be that nobody gives a $#!+ about your personal story or your opinion (to use the cartoon form of the profanity used in his speech), and that narrative or personal forms of writing are inferior forms that are never used on the job.
Although my initial impression of the standards themselves was positive, Coleman himself undermined my support for them in various venues by revealing the philosophies underlying the standards. I found his philosophies appalling, and antithetical to the way I teach and treat my students.
I had been fishing around for a way to deal with him in the Mr. Fitz comic strip, and decided the best way was the simplest. Simply throw him into the strip as a character – now named Dylan Trollman – and let Mr. Fitz have a chat with him at a teaching conference. To contrast Mr. and Mrs. Fitz’s attitude, I added Mrs. Merritt to the mix. As the education reformers’ ideal teacher, she is a positive standards junky and Trollman groupie.
Is this a caricature of Coleman? Sure. It’s a comic strip. What do you expect? But are the issues real? You bet.
So without further commentary, here is the conversation that ensues when Mr. Fitz meets Mr. Trollman.