Common Core Standards

So many people are strongly against the Common Core Standards. As a mom with kids who move frequently due to my husband’s job, I actually love having them. I refer to them so I know what my kids would be expected to know in the U.S., and I use them to fill in holes in their current curriculum. I appreciate that when we go back to a public school in the U.S. I will know exactly what they should know. As a former teacher, I can see how children are supposed to progress from year to year, what major concepts they should learn, and developmental milestones outlined in each grade level. I hope to go back to teaching soon, so reading and understanding the standards are a great way to stay on top of what is going on in my chosen profession.

Recently, I read two articles that I would love to share with you. First, the Foundation for Excellence in Education reviews math problems through the lens of the current standards and previous teaching methods. It is easy to see how children are now being taught to think through the problems and understand how they come to the solutions. Good teachers have always done this, of course, regardless of standards, but it is enlightening to see how the Common Core Standards actively encourage this. Take a look here:

http://excelined.org/common-core-toolkit/old-standards-v-common-core-a-side-by-side-comparison-of-math-expectations/

Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 10.11.03 PMThe second article was recently published in the Washington Post. It talks about what went into the standards and how they would actually be hard to replace. This kind of national effort utilizing some of the best and brightest teachers and administrators actually came up with a great list of skills and concepts that children should know and understand. It is the result of a tremendous amount of work and effort. It’s not perfect, but it is pretty darn impressive. Check out the article here:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/common-core-state-standards-arent-so-easy-to-replace/2014/12/24/e285d72c-89f1-11e4-a085-34e9b9f09a58_story.html

I know many of the concerns about the Common Core center around the testing and how that will affect kids, teachers, and schools. Taking that part out of the equation and looking just at the standards we think there are five reasons they will, and should, last in the schools. Here are our top three reasons for supporting national standards:

1) Standards give schools a minimum expectation for achievement. Creating a better list of standards is great and if a school has the time and resources to do this they should. However, many public schools are struggling with increased expectations and lowered resources. Common Core Standards release these schools from creating standards so they can focus on kids, families, and communities.

2) Standards that are similar across state lines help our increasingly mobile society ensure that children in transition will not have gaps in their education.

3) Colleges will know what students learned and can be well prepared to build on and expand that knowledge. It will be easy for colleges and universities to evaluate and integrate students into their schools.

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