Math MileMarkers- Feature Article

Could Common Core Standards be Good at the Core?

​The Common Core was thrust upon our schools like an unwanted guest with no plans of leaving anytime soon.  It’s no wonder it created a wave of frustration for teachers, parents and the children these standards were designed to serve.  And, although clearly there are challenges that remain at the forefront, the truth is that when teachers really get a chance to look at what children are being asked to do and understand within these standards, the majority report that the standards themselves seem good to the core.    

A recent Gallup poll survey revealed that the majority of teachers who had the opportunity to fully implement the standards in 2013-14, felt positively about the Common Core standards.  In fact, in states where common core was implemented 61% reported favorably regarding the curriculum itself.  In states that had not yet implemented the common core, these numbers were drastically different with only 37% looking positively on the same set of standards.  Could it be that part of the issue is that people are simply scared of the unknown?  Could there be more value within these standards that is yet to be uncovered by the media, politicians and various voices offering their opinions?

 One of the most enlightening finds in this research is the fact that 76% of public school teachers in the US reported being in favor of establishing a universal set of standards.  The overwhelming feeling was that this common set of standards will have a positive impact on education in our country. The elementary division was the most positive of all educational levels surveyed.   This could be due in part to the fact that the standards at this level include clearly defined foundational skills, addressed in a progressive plan that spans the primary and intermediate grades.   Perhaps this wave of appreciation for basic skills will grow through the grades as children arrive with fewer gaps in understanding in years to come.  

Much remains to be seen as educators continue to unpack, define and translate standards into real time learning for children. There’s no doubt that this will happen as that is exactly what all good teachers do.  

For now, let’s separate what’s not working, namely testing and teacher evaluations, from what clearly could have a positive impact on our educational system.   Our main focus must be to get on with the real business of education; preparing all children for a bright successful future.

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