The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.
Common Core made it to California and began its full implementation just a few days ago. Students started the 2013-14 school year off with new state standards, which have a focus on project-based learning in keeping with the multiple-intelligences theory as well as technology in the classroom. There is less of a focus on objective, standardized testing and more on testing with the purpose of long-term comprehension. There is also less teacher [and union] focus and more student/child-centric learning. Ultimately, however, preparation to go on to higher education is the end goal. There are 45 States that have adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Initiative (Texas, Alaska, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Virginia are still holding out) but no one quite knows the residual impact of this (almost) national conversion because although most states adopted the CCSS standards in 2010, roll out and full implementation doesn’t really began until this year or next.
- California Specific: Common Core Standards
- National: Common Core Standards
- Common Core Standards Downloads
It all sounds pretty good and gives the educational system a unified approach but, perhaps, what we also need is an additional cultural shift
The hope, of course, is that this new country-wide approach will offer consistency and clarity. However, the skeptics are out there and there is something to be said for another attempt at a nation-wide endeavor to educating our children in a generalized manner. We all remember the hope that No Child Left Behind promised only to deliver schools with a slanted take on prioritizing testing over The Arts and P.E. To be on par with students of the world, particularly China and Japan, however, I suggest that our Common Core should begin with a Cultural Shift. If we want to keep up with these kids, American society must shift its focus from making education a problem solved in the classroom to making education a problem solved at home.
In other societies there is an understanding that classroom standards don’t end when the bell rings. In other countries, there is a longer school day and longer week, sometimes even going to school on Saturdays. Parents take on an active role in their child’s education, becoming the teacher at home and, thereby, extending the school day even further. Whereas sometimes our society takes a position that it is the parent’s job to get their child ready for school and it is the school’s job to teach their child, other countries stress the fact that it is the parent’s role to not only teach the child morals and ethics but also math, taking ownership and responsibility head on for their child’s academic future.
There is no quick fix to anything, including our education system. The law requires that each child receive a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) but the US Supreme Court has ruled that appropriate does not mean the best. (Board of Education of Hendrick Hudson School District v Rowley, 458 US 176 (1982)) If we want our children to have a shot at competing on a global level, as the Mission Statement suggests, then now is the time to take matters into our own hands: become more actively involved in your child’s studies by taking what is taught in the classroom and implementing it at home. Common Core may be able to help you chart your child’s educational path but you steer your child’s academic success.
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Christine Terry, B.A., J.D., is the Founder & Owner of Terry Tutors, a Private Tutoring, Family Coaching, and Education Advocacy service dedicated to supporting the whole student. She writes this blog as an effort to help Moms & Dads Navigate Generation Z, Honestly. Want to Know More? Head on over to TerryTutors.com