The common core is a set of standards which were developed by state leaders along with teachers, school administrators and many other people, not the Federal Government. The common core has standards. Standards which are not curriculum. Standards that “do not tell principals how to run their schools, and they do not tell teachers how to teach. Local teachers, principals, and district administrators ultimately decide how the standards are to be met and the curriculum to be use” (Laine and Minnich). The school districts still have to choose which textbooks to use and, which curricula they wish to add and drop. The basic standards of the common core are: Aligned with college and workforce-training expectations; Rigorous in content and include the application of knowledge through higher-order skills; Built on strengths and lessons taken from state standards; Informed by standards in top-performing countries, so that all students are prepared to succeed in the global economy and society; and Evidence-based, clear, and aligned across a child’s K-12 education. The common core has many pros and cons to reforming the education system.
In the Article The common core is a change for the better the authors mention that the common core provides a good foundation on what needs to be taught (Gardner and Powell). The authors also touched on the fact that students nowadays are “more mobile than ever”, families have to move around more to follow and find available jobs. With the common core all across the Country have the same standards. There is some consistency within all schools in America. If a family was to move from Maine to Nevada, it would be quite impossible to expect things to be the exact same. However, you can still have an idea of the standards and know what to expect. This is a great thing about the Common Core. Every Student this way is exposed to the same standards. Once students are mingled together in colleges and universities across the country the professors can expect almost every student to be able to do the same things, to a degree. Not to say that every student knows the exact same content, however they will all have graduated high school with the same skills. Skills that may be taught in a variety of styles, none the less resulting in the same skills.
The common core requires teachers to be very specific and hand out rubrics, stating exactly the quality of work that is expected. This eliminates the confusion that can arouse from complicated projects or open research topics. The students will know exactly what the teacher is requiring of them. Ultimately making it easier on the students to provide what the teacher wants and getting the highest grade possible if the students puts in the effort required to meet the expectations.
Effort: defined as “an earnest or strenuous attempt” by dictionary.com, is where a problem arises in the common core. The common core standard “Rigorous in content and include the application of knowledge through higher-order skills” is asking 21st century students to put in lots of effort, they can’t ask Siri to write their English paper or do their history project. Most high school aged students in the United States are not going to put in the required effort to achieve rigorous assignments. I know that when I was in high school my attitude was ‘if I wait to the last minute it only takes a minute’. That’s not because I was swamped with assignments or didn’t understand it. It was because I would rather be doing anything else, after having spent all day in classrooms with new information being drilled into my head. The absolute last thing I wanted to do was go home and spend more hours on homework. Making high school more rigorous is going to prevent kids from being kids. Students in the United States are less motivated to learn and value education less and less.
Stephen Krashen says that another problem with very rigorous assignments is “CCSS are so demanding that in English language arts classes, educators and students will have little time for anything not directly linked to the standards” (Krashen). I do not quite agree with this statement because the standards are not the curriculum being taught, just the way it is being taught. Teachers and schools have some free space to spend as much time as they feel necessary to focus on aspects they feel more important.
The common core has pros and cons, just like anything in life. One set of standards isn’t going to please everyone in the United States. My personal opinion is that the common core has good intentions, but may be a bit unrealistic. If every school in America was teaching the same skills to the same degree, all students would have the same experiences entering college. There are 50 states with thousands of different schools in each states. Within those thousands of schools there are teachers who all have their own style of teaching. Not to mention the millions of students that all learn a little differently at a different pace. What are the odds that every state school, and teacher are able to provide every student with the exact same skills, using the exact same standards? There are good intentions behind it, and the United States can give it a chance, but I feel as though it may be unrealistic.
Fine, Sarah. “Moving Forward With The Common Core.” Education Week 30.8 (2010): 18-19. Professional Development Collection. Web. 16 Mar. 2014. Gardner, Nancy S. Powell, Rod. “The Common Core Is A Change For The Better.” Phi Delta Kappan 95.4
(2013): 49-53. Professional Development Collection. Web. 16 Mar. 2014. Krashen, Stephen. “THE COMMON CORE. (Cover Story).” Knowledge Quest 42.3 (2014): 36-45. Professional Development Collection. Web. 16 Mar. 2014. Richard, Laine, and Chris Minnich. “Common Core: Setting the Record Straight.” Education Week 32.36
(2013): Web. 16 Mar. 2014