3 Reasons You Should Know Your Common Core State Standards

Common Core State Standards are a set of standards initiated and backed by various known national bodies to ensure uniformity in and high level of educational standards across states.

Here are three reasons that you should know about your state’s common core standards:

  1. To appreciate the underlying beauty of the program and dispel common myths

Change has always been met with resistance and the shift to common core standards does not evade this. Knowing the standards makes one realize various benefits of the program such as but not limited to:

  • Training students to think and not just obtain the answer
  • Enabling collaboration among teachers from different states
  • Decreasing costs of measuring academic achievement
  • Enabling comparison among states
  • Allowing continuity of education for students of mobile families
  • Focusing on purpose of learning

Some common misconceptions about the standards:

  • “States with high standards have to go down to meet the standards.”

A review of the standards would show that they have been created based on advanced thinking that enables a student to succeed in his or her career and life.

  • “Standards do not prescribe content but only skills.”

State standards are made in a way that both skills and content are identified. In language arts, not only are subsets of comprehension, grammar and organization skills itemized, specific fiction and non-fiction contents are identified. One has to read Shakespeare, western mythology, Thoreau and American literature. In high school mathematics in particular, specific topics in algebra and geometry are listed along with skills necessary in solving these.

  • “The standards can be construed as a national curriculum.”

Looking at the standards, this in no way true. The standards are just expectation on content and skills that a student should be able to master. Details of how these shall be implemented as well as specific lesson plans are left to teachers and school heads.

  1. To have a benchmark to help children achieve educational goals

Older people have been educated in a different educational system. These older people are more likely parents or guardians of smaller children who are now shifting to a system guided by common core state standards. As common core state standards have general principles from which specific objectives for a particular grade level are rooted, parents should definitely exert effort in knowing these standards to help their children work on the new approach to learning. Some children are reported to struggle with the new approach. The assistance of parents is needed now more than ever to track the performance of their children with respect to national standards, help in reducing gaps they find, collaborate with teachers on areas that need attention or professional help and even report possible improvements that suit their children. As always, early intervention is better and preferred so as not to waste time, effort, money and other resources as well as save children from embarrassment that can create a scar on their confidence for life.

Likewise, students and employers should know about the standards too. For students especially more mature ones, it is a part of his or her initiative in achieving the minimum standards of learning and even surpassing this benchmark. For employers, it gives them an idea on whether high school graduates can already fill certain positions in the company. Knowing the contents of the standards may help in lowering the company’s labor cost and completing manpower requirement.

  1. To have an unbiased and well-informed civic participation in educational improvement

The program has been a matter of controversy, which is good in the sense that people show that they care about education, consequently the future of their children and the beloved fatherland. However, participating in whatever process it may be – debate, improvements, criticism, argumentation, review or even posting on Twitter, Facebook or any social networking site – should be anchored on an understanding of the standards with depth and breadth. This can only happen if one knows the standards, has read how and why the proponents came up with these and has carefully assessed the particular standards in subject areas namely language literacy and mathematics. These are pre-requisites to being able to compare the standards and its implications to both

  • standards and achievement levels in the international arena or at the very least, of countries that perform well
  • previous state standards.

Many times, critics only base their arguments on hearsay or shallow analysis of the standards. To make matters worse, other people are easily swayed by baseless claims which do not help in moving forward the state of education of the country which has lagged other countries for many years already.

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