As we're all aware the Common Core Standards can be a deeply polarizing proposition on the side of students, parents and teachers alike. With the lofty goal of implementing nationwide K-12 math and english language arts standards and holding students to the same academic benchmarks regardless of state, the Common Core was designed to help better prepare students to pursue 2 or 4 year degrees upon graduation or enter the workforce with a knowledge base more competitive and more comparable to other countries. However the implementation has proven to be problematic. Developed with support from 48 states, interest in using the testing apparatuses expressed by 40, this spring many states have already backed away from using the tests, which appears to be the sticking point in the implementation process. Most states have aligned or are saying they've aligned their curriculum to Common Core but not all are using the exams. "As things stand, only 27 states are planning to use the aligned tests this year, according to Education Week."
In those states that are using the exams, further backlash might be expected when it is found that students are not performing well. For example: In New York, the roll out was rushed and fewer than a third of students passed early core exams. If this is any indication, with students performing badly, parental and political pressure could lead to more states not using the exams which would result in unmeasurable effectiveness of the standards. "The next few years will be bumpy. Political opposition will likely grow, particularly after parents discover their children are not testing well. More states could drop out formally or become "zombies"—ostensibly maintaining the standards but neglecting the tests that would show whether they are meeting them. "
At the recent ISTE 2014 Education Technology conference EdSurge took to the show floor, asking educators attending the conference what their thoughts were on the Common Core Initiative and had some interesting responses. Overall educators liked the broadness of the standards and the ability to teach within them, choose content and resources they saw fit and how they encouraged skill building and critical thinking over content and memorization.
However concerns over the testing were found to weigh on the educators' minds as well as students and parrents. Bob Dillon, Director of Technology and Information for the Affton School District in Missouri, observed, some teachers are quitting English language arts and math classrooms: “There are really good math and ELA teachers who are moving to teach something else because they don’t want to be in a Common Core-tested subject,” he says.
A change of this scale is likely to have some bumps in the road to implementation and adoption, which on the policy level makes perfect sense, however as an educator actually having to teach to the standards it is understandable that there are some reservations, especially about the testing, since funding, salaries and budgets are often predicated on their results.
What are your thoughts on the Common Core Standards and their implementation?
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