By Teachers, For Teachers
After attending a few CCSS roll out sessions, I'm still far from an expert on the initiative but this change sparks debate between my optimism and cynicism in education.
Here are 3 things I learned about the Common Core State Standards and conflicting predictions from my hopeful and cynical self.
1. A bunch of states got together and decided that there should be one standard for this country to create a competitively educated populace ready for either success in a career or college after high school.
Hopeful Self says: It’s about time we took an honest look at what students really need to be successful in this country, this century. Where you are born should not dictate the level of education you receive.
Cynical Self says: The country is low on cash and creating a single set of standards saves money. States won’t have to pay for their own special exams to be created and scored. The cost of materials will fall as well as with mass printings of texts / software and a greater pool of companies competing to produce them.
2. Teachers across the country will have to adjust curriculum maps to align to the CCSS.
Hopeful Self says: This will be a great opportunity to seriously reflect on how daily lessons are moving students towards critical thinking about course content and its real world application. Schools, previously misaligned to their own state’s standards will be given a fresh start!
Cynical Self says: Just because standards are new does not mean they’ll be better incorporated into curriculums. Schools that were aligning well will continue to do so with these new standards – school that weren’t, won’t. On top of that, building higher expectations in the new standards does not bode well for school’s which couldn’t meet previous low expectations such as, “hey - show up for school and we’ll find a way for you to pass…or…just age a year.”
3. Skills and content build and spiral from one year to the next, with an emphasis on independent, critical thought and more exposure to non-fiction texts.
Hopeful Self says: Students moving from one school to the next due to either graduation or relocation to a new state will have a comfortable and logical transition. No longer will skills engrained for the 8th grade ELA exam, impede the process for attaining skills necessary to pass the high school ELA exam!
Cynical Self says: The big talk of late is that the teacher is a biggest contributing factor to a student’s success or failure in learning new material. Unless a greater push comes to create a proven set of common standards for instruction which all teachers must master – we’ll just have the same teachers wearing new outfits. Kids will continue to transition into schools and classrooms with ineffective instructional programs, regardless of a change in standards.
All this being said, I’m hopeful this country is less cynical than me.
What do you think will come of the common core standards? Share in the comments section!