Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Why The Common Core State Standards?

The Common Core State Standards have been getting a bad name. Government takeover of education, state mandated confusing math problems and no literature for your kids (only informational text). The opponents also say completely wrong things as well. For example:

  1. Common Core is a curriculum. 
  2. Common Core is a test. 
  3. Common Core hurts kids. 
  4. The government is taking over. 

This sentiment is just plain wrong. The Common Core State Standards are wonderful for students and teachers. They are meant to provide increased collaboration among students and teachers with an emphasis on solving problems not memorization. Many parents and other groups may not fully grasp the intent of the standards to prepare students for the world economy and the jobs of tomorrow. Change is the problem, not the standards. Parents may feel that their education was good enough, they did worksheets, listened to lectures and took test and they turned out OK. The jobs of tomorrow demand much more than memorization and regurgitation. The current kindergartener will retire around the year 2075. What kind of jobs will that student be doing in their career? No one knows. But most people will agree that it will involve more technology, increased collaboration and an emphasis on producing something other than memorizing a set of skills or figures. 
We can no longer rely on the educational strategies of the 1900's. Let us keep our minds open to change and what that can bring to our students.

What is wrong with students learning this? Why is it scary? How is it a government takeover? How could someone oppose these things?

As you read the statements below that come directly from the commentary from the authors of the standards you will start to see the intent. The intent is to move forward, innovate and change some of the practices that we are doing as educators. It is no longer good enough. Differentiation. Innovation. Inspiration. Problem solving. Producing something. These are the skills that will be needed when the girl in the photo goes to work.

The problems of tomorrow are too big to do in isolation. Create, collaborate and share learning and your students will succeed.

What the Common Core says about learning.

Students that are college and career ready will be able to:

“use technology and digital media strategically and capably.”

“Students employ technology thoughtfully to enhance their reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language use.”

“Value evidence” and directly cite that evidence

“they respond to the varying demands of audience, task, purpose and discipline.”

“They develop the capacity to build knowledge on a subject through research projects and to respond analytically to literary and informational sources. To meet these goals, students must devote significant time and effort to writing, producing numerous pieces over short and extended time frames throughout the year.”