The Common Core Standards Debate

The Common Core Standards Debate

Happy Tuesday, National Math Bee family! We hope you have been having a wonderful time encouraging your children as they take a swing at Batter Up. In this week’s post, we are taking a look at the controversial Common Core Standards a decade after its implementation and the debate surrounding it. We would love to know what your thoughts are on the subject.

Common Core Math Standards Debate

 President Barack Obama implemented the common core standards as part of education reform in 2010. It aims to establish consistent educational standards across the United States. The Common Core Standards intend to bridge the gap between high school graduate’s preparedness and college and employer expectations. This initiative was the result of a report whose found that the current school system was failing to prepare students for the real world. American high school graduates were consistently underprepared for college and employment. 

“The Common Core State Standards establishes guidelines for what every student should (achieve) in Math and English language arts from kindergarten through 12th grade”. 4 Students should depart from each grade with the same degree of competency as students from the same class across the nation. The CCS raises the bar for education across the country. The CCS also helps identify problem areas. Specifically, the CCS tools help “teachers measure student progress throughout the school year and ensure that students are on the pathway to success in their academic careers”. 4 

On its tenth anniversary of implementation, why are we still talking about the Common Core Standards?

To successfully implement the CCS, you need all key players of the education system on board, and this includes educators, school districts, legislators, parents, and even students. Unfortunately this has not been the case. With much excitement, 45 states quickly adopted the Common Core State Standards upon its introduction in 2010. Currently, the CCS faces harsh criticism after ten years of its implementation. Today, many states have distanced themselves from their initial decision to adopt CCS. The Common Core Standards continue to spark heated public debate about education. Where do the Common Core Standards stand? Let’s take a look at some of the strengths ad weaknesses of the Common Core Standards highlighted by Derrick Meador from ThoughtCo. 5

Strengths

The CCS base is international benchmarks on education. 

Top international educational standards were considered when constructing the Common Core State Standards. American education should be the same across the nation. American students should also rank equally against international standards. In turn, our children are ready to compete in an ever-increasing globalized world. Our students should not be a disadvantage when competing internationally. “This is positive (considering that) the United States has ranked considerably low in (global) education.. over the last few decades”. 4

The CCS implements an apparatus to compare standardized testing results nationwide. 

The Common Core State Standards provide a mechanism to compare standardized testing results across the country, in those states that implement the standards. Before the CCS, there was no way to ensure that children were prepared equally and adequately across the nation. 

College Readiness. 

The main aim of CCS is to ensure that we are suitably preparing our children for college. This goal comes after finding that the level of preparation for college upon graduation, varied significantly across school districts, leaving much to desire. Under the CCS, students with a high school diploma should be sufficiently prepared for college and beyond, no matter what from what state or school district they graduated. 

Progress Monitoring Tools. 

The Common Core State Standards provide progress monitoring tools that teachers can use to find out what a student knows, where they are going, and to figure out a plan to get them where they need to be. (Most importantly, these tools) give teachers an avenue to compare an individual student’s progress instead of one student against another”. 5

People are talking about education. 

 “(Most importantly), the Common Core State Standards have sparked a meaningful (and necessary) nationwide conversation about the state of education in general”. 5

Weaknesses

The CCS is too vague. 

“The Common Core State Standards are vague and broad”. 5 The CCS provides the rubric for what students must know by each grade, but not much else. Educators feel that these standards fail them as they do not offer specific details into how to carry out the implementation of new information. Consequentially, the brunt of this weight lies specifically in teachers and schools. Educators are left to decide the best ways to get their students to reach the common core standards. 

The CCS led to a difficult transition.

 “The Common Core State Standards have been a tremendously difficult adjustment for students and teachers”. 5 This policy asked of teachers to change the way that they were used to teaching and the way they assessed their students. The slow nature of statistical data has made the acceptance of this policy even more difficult for some educators to accept. 

Increased Rigor for Some States. 

The Common Core State Standards require more from younger students than that required of previous generations. “With the increased rigor and higher-level thinking skills, early childhood programs have become more rigid (starting as early as Pre-Kindergarten). Skills students used to learn in second grade (are currently skills) taught in Kindergarten”. 5

There are no Modifications for Students With Special Needs. 

Considering children of differing abilities, the CCCS fails students in that it “does not have an equivalency test for those with special needs”. 5 In these cases, a special needs student results get reported along with the rest of the school population. These results may then provided skewed data. 

Education became more costly. 

Common Core Standards have come at a tremendous economic cost to school districts. “Many schools developed and purchased new curricula and materials aligned to the Common Core”. 5 “The Common Core State Standards costs schools a lot of money to update the technology needed for the assessments. This cost has created many issues for districts who were forced to purchase purchase enough computers to (test students promptly)”. 5

Focus on Standardized Testing. 

The Common Core State Standards has led to increased value on standardized test performance”. 5 Standardized testing is currently considered an essential tool (available) for teachers following the Common Core Standards. This tool allows teachers to see if each child is reaching the markers set forth by the CCS. This dependence on tests has led to more backlash for CCS. 

National Math Bee family loves all topics on education, and we cannot wait to hear your thoughts on the subject. Please get in touch with us and let us know where you stand on the Common Core State Standards Debate. How did the Common Core Standards affect your school and state? How did the CCS change the way you used to teach and evaluate your students? Did you find your students had a hard time adapting to the new curriculum? Do you feel CCS adequately prepared students for college and beyond? Does your state continue to adhere to the CCS?

Happy Learning,

Cristina Pereira

For a more in-depth analysis of the future of The Common Core Standards, please take a look at What Happened to The Common Core. 

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References used:

1- www.curiosity.com

2- https://curiosity.com/topics/how-does-common-core-math-work-curiosity/

3- https://www.achieve.org/publications/ready-or-not-creating-high-school-diploma-counts

4- What Parents Should Know | Common Core State Standards …. http://www.corestandards.org/what-parents-should-know/

5- Meador, Derrick. “What Are Some Pros and Cons of the Common Core State Standards?” ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/common-core-state-standards-3194603

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