The Common Core Standards are a list of expectations for learning for students in each grade level. The standards list what students (K-12) should know in language arts and math at the end of each grade level. They are consistent in all 45 states that have adopted the standards.
There has been much debate about the value of these standards. Concerns have been expressed about the standardized testing, the effect on schools and teachers, and the problem of teaching to the test. I like the Derrick Meador list of Pro’s and Con’s on About.com about the standards. (See link.)
What are some ways in which the Common Core Standards could be considered as positive for parents?
1. Families who move between states will find a consistency in standards from school to school. According to the Census Bureau, about 36 million Americans moved between 2012 and 2013.
2. Parents who like to review and prepare for school over the summer will be able to easily figure out what their child should know prior to entering the next grade. In addition, they can begin preparing and previewing the knowledge required for the coming grade.
3. Parents who want to support school learning by purchasing or borrowing books that complement in-school learning will easily be able to research the standards in order to select home materials.
4. Parents interested in connecting activities, ideas, and experiences in daily life with school learning will be able to read, review, and connect to the grade level standards.
5. Parents who like to ask learning specific questions while in discussions with their children about school will be able to do so.
6. Parents will find it easier to compare schools.
7. Parents familiar with the standards will be able to discuss academic expectations and interventions with their children and teachers.
8. With nationwide consistency in standards, parents will find supporting materials, books, and activities that support in school learning from a wider range of sources.
9. Discussing the standards at home could help parents identify holes in their child’s knowledge and fill them with supplementary materials and activities.
8. The standards provide a starting place for increased dialogue between the schools, teachers, and parents. Parents can ask informed questions, request specific interventions, and support a successful curriculum or lobby for changes to an under-performing school using the standards as a guide.
9. All colleges and universities will have a consistent expectation of the knowledge brought by applicants. Parents can assist in making sure those standards are met for their college-age children.
10. The dialogue about learning, education, and grade level standards is now on the same page throughout the nation. Detractors and supporters alike will find extensive resources, like-minded groups, and support for activism.
Disclaimer: This list is not all-inclusive. It does not address countless concerns about the standards and all that goes with it. This list does not reflect the extensive analysis, thought, and discussion that thousands of administrators, teachers, and parents have brought to the debate. It is not intended to do that. It merely reflects the humble thoughts of one parent and former teacher trying to see the good in the Common Core Standards.