Common Core

My most recent posts to this blog have been about change. Change that is happening as a result of technologies influence on education and change that is likely necessary in the way that we instruct our students. This post will also be about change, but not from those sources but rather from legislation and governmental influence. It is my intention to provide readers with a couple of resources to become more acquainted with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Smarter Balanced. I, by no means, consider myself an expert in either field but I do feel the need to start learning about them as they will soon be a change that we will be implementing with our students.

The James B. Hunt, Jr. Institute has put out a series of videos on YouTube to introduce people to the CCSS. They are designed to introduce the guiding principles and how they will inform the concepts taught at each grade level. Though there is a full series of videos available for viewing (click here for the link) I have provided just one that gives you some background for the reasons behind and driving CCSS.

While I do not completely agree with the data that was and is collected in comparing American schools and students to those overseas I do feel that a change needs to be made with our American educational system. To be completely honest, I am not sure that the CCSS are the answer, but they are what we will be using to try and find the answer. The more that we prepare ourselves for the CCSS the smoother their implementation will be.

  1. What are your thoughts on the CCSS?
  2. Do you feel that the CCSS have the power to change the American system or are they a fad that is likely to put us further behind?
  3. What gaps in their education, do you think our graduates have that make them “unemployable and unprepared”?
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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Common Core

  1. Laura mcdonell

    The video was very interesting…wish that I would have grown up during the technology age. There are so many cool things! I would agree with the speaker that the common core is really pretty good. It is a great focus for teachers. It is nice that we are focusing on the same things throughout the country. They will help our kids in the future. Technology is huge for employment and good test scores in the future…it was cool observing and investigating the smarter balanced test for middle school and how many computer skills are needed. My first grader at gearing logs in …and does his math homework on line…I love it…it is so much better than paper and pencil..he is so motivated…and loves doing it.

    • I am torn on the impact that the common core is going to have. I am a big fan of technology and its use in the classroom, but I am very leery about the new smarter balanced testing that is going to be a part of it. I keep thinking about the students that I had in my advanced chemistry class last year talking about one of our state tests in Georgia. They talked about how easy it was and how they didn’t even have to try to pass. I am not a fan of linking teacher jobs with that kind of teenage attitude toward testing. I am not quite sure what the answer is and I guess only time will tell us how well this change helps or hurts. One thing is for certain, we need TIME to work with this and not have a new reform come in and change it immediately.

      • Laura mcdonell

        I am very curious about the students who did not have to try hard on the s b test. It seemed to us like it was going be a a challenge to get kids ready for it…so that is interesting feedback. I Do agree that we need time to work with a test. As far as dealing with other cultures around the world, we have some of the most creative minds in the USA, we have to provide opportunities for students to be challenged and inspired, not bored.

  2. Danna

    Ohhhhhh Common Core!

    Okay so I’m going to write like I talk (everyone tilt head to side and snap gum!) BUT it usually gets me going because I am so UNSURE of how I feel about them.

    I understand that CCSS assist us, as a nation, to have a unified education system where students in Marine City, Michigan have the same education as students in Timbucktoo, USA. However, as we gear toward personalizing the curriculum to meet our students achievement levels, and pace, shouldn’t the context be differentiated based on location? Does a student in Detroit, MI need the same education as a student preparing for post-secondary at an Ivy League school? I agree that they are ENTITLED to that right, but do they NEED the skills? I don’t think so, and I think that being absorbed in WHAT is being taught in the curriculum is eliminating basic survival skills that are no longer being taught in schools; communication skills, coping skills, etc.

    I learned through my Masters program that while our test scores are being compared to students overseas, that their admins are ENVIOUS of HOW OUR STUDENTS THINK. We may not have higher scores (but we are a heterogeneous group composed of many more sociology-economic statuses, races, etc) it is the Chinese, Japanese, etc that WANT more students like ours. My professor had conversations with professors and high school teachers in China and their students are one-track-minded, and actually have the highest out-of-high-school suicide rate because in life, there is NO one simple answer.

    • Danna,
      One of the speakers that I had the privilege of listening to this weekend was Jack Roberts, the executive director of the MHSAA. He closed his talk with the importance of our roles as educational athletic administrators and pointed to the threat that we receive from the perceived differences in our test results with other countries. He specifically pointed to our comparison with China and used his own daughter and son-in-law, who work in Shanghai, as sources of information. He told us that in Shanghai the government chooses which schools and even which classes to assess for the “state” tests. In comparison, we as a country test every student. While the poor children of China have already been weeded out or “fallen through the cracks” by high school age, we as a country continue to educate and test ALL of our students. While our country does not necessarily test as well, we still boast the largest number of entrepreneurs, creative thinkers, and business leaders. I believe that the CCSS has the ability to reinforce our nation of critical thinkers by focusing on the process involved and not the content only (something our “competitors” focus on more). Only time will tell, but I am proud of our quirks and eccentricities.

      Thanks for the comment.

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