Common Core Standards
In the United States, education should be equal, and I believe that common core standards are the essential component to help implement clear consistent learning targets across all of our states. I think that all school systems should have the same standards and expectations for every student in all states. Our students need to be equipped with problem solving strategies to be successful in college, future jobs, and in our global economy. According to Loertscher and Marcoux (2010),“The ideas for these standards often came from the misunderstanding of best standards in the field of education, but with the focus being centered on preparing students for global competition”(P.8). These standards will focus more on better preparing students to succeed in life outside of the classroom and to compete in our society. Common core standards are a positive change for our country to better educate students, and to give teachers across the United States equal standards to base instruction and curriculum. We should be working together as a nation to enhance our education system.
In 1989, the United States started to establish and introduce national standards. In March 1994, the Goals 2000 Educate America Act was passed under the Bill Clinton administration. The act required state education departments to use national standards as a prospective to design and align state standards. In October 1994, the Improving America’s School Act was passed. This act would require states to develop specific mathematics and reading standards to be implemented the following school year. Grants were given to states that adopted rigorous state standards and matched assessments to show reform in their school system. These attempts were ineffective however when it came to boosting student achievement. The new standards were designed, but they weren’t properly implemented in school systems. In order for them to be effective schools should developed more assessments, professional development opportunities, and allowed for academic growth.
In December 2001, No Child Left Behind was proposed and passed by the George Bush administration. This act was set out to require standardized testing in mathematics and reading to ensure academic progress. Adequate yearly progress was designed to show students growth each academic year. When this was implemented the NCLB system showed school systems yearly progress, and was designed to promote student growth. This system strayed away from national standards and leaned more towards state standards. Each state was responsible to determine a appropriate level of proficiency that was different in each system. This was based off standardized test pressures to reach adequate yearly progress. Even though these tests are still a large part of education, common core standards will help provide instruction to better the results of testing across the nation.
Local standards varied all across fifty states, creating a differentiation of instruction across the United States. Different academic areas were taught in various grade levels throughout states, this was creating a gap in student achievement if they moved to a new state. In order to hold each student with the same accountability common core standards are essential for our nation. Developing national standards are a guideline of academic expectations for each grade level in order to acquire appropriate college readiness. If each state adopted national standards then we would be more regulated and equal. Each state will be left to develop context within the curriculum, the only difference is the common core curriculum specifies the general objectives and expectations.
During my high school years I had no clue how unprepared for college I would be. After graduation I began college, it was a struggle to adjust. The academic pressure was more than I was accustomed to in high school. I had to develop study habits that I never possessed previously. Some friends I attended high school with dropped out of college soon after starting because the adjustment was intensely different. My hope is that kids won’t lose faith in getting a higher education because they will be better prepared academically with common core standards. Instead of not being pushed, students will understand how to analyze, apply, and use problem solving techniques to answer questions. Students will know how to research a topic and find sources that are useful. I hope common core standards help to lessen the gap between high school and college.
As a first year teacher, I was introduced to teaching using the common core standards. Our school system adopted a new math and reading curriculum in order to meet the new standards. The new resources were aligned with common core curriculum. Many teachers stated their opinion on the vast differences between state and common core standards. According to Bomer and Maloch (2011), “Most teachers are therefore aware that these new standards have made a substantial difference in what they are supposed to teach and what students are supposed to know and be able to do by the end of each grade level” (P.38). In Kindergarten, the common core tended to be more focused on writing and analyzing text features. Many of my colleagues with more experience noticed that students in Kindergarten were writing and reading more words than years in the past. In math the lessons were focused around abstract thinking and problem solving. I think that the common core promotes engaging students into higher learning process skills. Students begin in elementary school analyzing and processing higher order thinking skills, instead of just reproducing answers. This will help promote success in high school, college, and the work force.
Tennessee is a part of the race to the top grant provided by the Obama administration, as a result of that new evaluations were implemented to ensure effective teaching. Adopting common core standards this year helped to ensure objectives and target goals were developing students’ higher order thinking capabilities and really pushing learning further than ever before. Teacher’s evaluations were scored in some categories based off higher learning processing skills. I think that raising the bar in learning is always has a positive outcome.
With common core standards being adopted by most states more teachers can share curriculum and instruction ideas. Teaching will be more equal across the nation. Students that transfer schools within the city or even different state will be on a even playing field regardless of the location because every system will be equalized. According to McNeil (2009), “A primary goal is to eliminate that patchwork of academic standards across the country that result in students in the same grades learning different things in different states” (P. 2). The crossover for moving students will be less of hassle when it comes to academics because every system will use the same academic standards. This will reduce the rate of students getting behind who often don’t stay in one location. According to Loertscher and Marcoux (2010), “Though every state and many national associations have their own sets of academic standards, these were built with the understanding that they would be overarching and unify the expectations of student learning across the United States” (P.8).
We must implement these new standards in effective ways such as assessments, methods of instruction, problem solving strategies, professional development, and other ways to progress that change is going to occur. Adopting new standards alone is not going to effect academic improvement; we must show these changes in our curriculum and instruction. “ The standards also are (a) aligned with college and work expectations; (b) are clear, understandable, and consistent; (c) include rigorous content and application of knowledge through higher order skills; (d) build upon strengths and lessons of current state standards; (e) are informed by other top-performing countries so that students are prepared to succeed in a global economy and society; and (f) are evidence- and research-based” (Common Core standards, 2010). I think this statement sums up my opinion on implementing common core standards across the United States. As a teacher, who has used them in the past year, I have witness the success common core has in the classroom. I have seen many Kindergarten children succeed in ways we would have never thought of in years past. I am in full support of these standards. We wouldn’t be losing state standards; these were based off the academic targets that were in them. The common core just expanded and progressed to higher order thinking skills. We must change to keep up in our global society. Education is always changing and improving we must do everything we can to ensure students success. In order for common core to be effective in changing educational success, we must not only adopt the new standards, but also find alternative ways of implementing them into our everyday instruction.
(2011). Act provides first look at U.S. student performance on common core. The Hispanic outlook in higher eduation, 21(10), 1. Retrieved from http://libprox.cumberland.edu:2048/login?url=http://libprox.cumberland.edu:2245/docview/855815773?accountid=26977
(2010). Common core standards. Gifted Child Today, 33(4), 9. Retrieved from http://libprox.cumberlad.edu:2048/login?url=http://libprox.cumberland.edu:2245/docview/753788219?accountid=26977
Bomer, R., & Maloch, B. (2011). Relating policy to research and practice: The common core standards. Language Arts, 89(1), 38-43. Retrieved from http://libprox.cumberland.edu:2048/login?url=http://libprox.cumberland.edu:2245/docview/884628787?accountid=26977
Gewertz, C. (2011). Academics find common standards fit for college. Education week, 2(31)
Goldstein, M. (2010, July 29). At-risk children will benefit. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2010/07/21/who-will-benefit-from-national-education-standards/why-us-standards-will-benefit-at-risk-children
Kern, D. (2011). Elections, comets and common core standards. New England Reading Association Journal, 46(2), 89-92,102. http://search.proquest.com/docview/858226403?accountid=26977
Loertscher, D., & Marcoux, B. (2010). Teacher librarian. 38(2), 8-14. Retrieved from http://libprox.cumberlad.edu:2245/docview/846786600?accountid=26977
McNeil, M. (2009). 46 states agree to common academic standards effort. Education week, 28(33), 14-16.
Myth v. facts about common core standards. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.corestandards.org/assets/corefacts.pdf
Stotsky, S. (2010, September 23). Equalizing mediocrity. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2010/07/21/who-will-benefit-from-national-education-standards/equalizing-mediocrity