As schools across the country implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and begin to transition to new types of student assessments, the fervor of those both for and against the initiative is increasing. It is rare that an article or editorial on CCSS is published and not immediately followed by a flurry of comments.
EducationWorld gathered some of the more poignant arguments made on both sides of the debate:
Nola.com, the online home of The Times-Picanune newspaper, detailed the uphill battled opponents to the CCSS faced in Louisiana. User “petie” attempts to quell fear of the new standards by explaining what they are and how they can be used.
"As someone who has watched the development of CCSS since 2010, and has seen its use in the classroom, I have NO fear of Common Core. It IS NOT curriculum. It IS NOT a book. It is simply a set of rigorous standards (standards-based education has been around a very long time) that students should reach by the end of each grade level. The choice of what to use to help students reach these goals is up to each system’s curriculum writers. These writers are educators, with input from supervisors (who are former teachers) and often involve outside assistance from parents and community members."
But the ultimate choice of how to help students reach these high standards comes directly from the teacher. We know best how to reach our students. We learn what works and what doesn’t by getting to know students’ learning styles. Common Core is not the enemy. As someone who is using it daily to GUIDE instruction, my only fear is that my students do not have the requisite background knowledge to meet the high standards. But...we will work together to do the best that we can. And in the next few years, we will continue to do the same, until the gaps between implementation of the new curriculum and “fading out of the old” is complete.”
Commenting on the same story, “jedsdead” proposes that the problem with the American education system is not standards, but rather poverty.
"Every couple of years they spend millions implementing a new teaching system/strategy, and the only thing that works is the people selling the system get richer. Why can’t we fix education? Because Americans think that if you educate it will fix poverty, but the opposite is true. You fix poverty, then education will follow. Other countries have figured this out…why can't we?”
Reacting to a National Review article that alleges the CCSS will be used to sell student data, user “Kurt NY” explains that while he isn’t opposed to national standards, there is something “creepy” about the CCSS that doesn’t sit well with him.
"I don't necessarily feel a coordination of curricula across states is a bad thing, especially if it raises student achievement by establishing a baseline against which differing state and district performances can be measured, thereby promoting accountability. But Ms. Malkin [the article’s author] is right that much of this just seems creepy and tailor-made to provide arguments for affirmative action-type responses rather than to achieve much of educational value. And agreed that while the overwhelming majority of educators at the local level seem more level-headed, the higher the educators get up the food chain of their industry, and the more removed from actual classrooms, the more likely they are to become obsessed less with actually imparting education and more with proselytizing for whatever cause is hot in intellectual circles today.”
"We feel it was forced on all the schools. Essentially it’s a federal mandate that you go with Common Core. The federal government should not be in our state and local schools.”
Is your district implementing the CCSS? What’s your taken on the standards? What are the challenges of implementation? Join the discussion on the EdWorld Community.