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The educational system is always changing. The State Board of Education is forever looking for ways to better the system. Some methods demonstrate great success, and others do not. Lately, there has been much dispute over the subject of the Common Core Standards. Many are under the impression that the use of these standards are not beneficial. However, despite what many people are thinking and saying, the Common Core Standards are changing the way students learn in the best of ways. The use of the Common Core should continue in schools.
The creation of the Common Core Standards initially began in 2009, involving educators, standards experts, researchers, and members of the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The purpose of creating these standards was to prepare all students for the future and create consistency between all of the states. “Unlike previous state standards, which varied widely from state to state, the Common Core enables collaboration among states on a range of tools and policies” (CCSSO and NGA Center). In order to maintain consistency while also achieving maximum proficiency, these people established goals based on the highest state standards that already existed, “[providing] clear and consistent learning goals to help prepare students for college, career, and life” (CCSSO and NGA Center). Many people seem to be rejecting these new standards. Perhaps this is due to misinformation and lack of communication. Or maybe they just need to give the Common Core State Standards a chance. Either way, the standards are here to stay, at least for now, and they are making some changes.
The Common Core Standards clearly lay out what the students are expected to learn. “The Common Core is very specific about skills and processes that students should be able to demonstrate” (Gardner and Powell 52). This preciseness makes it easy for parents and teachers to address and fix problems, and it also makes it much simpler for teachers to lay down a curriculum without worrying about what material to teach and what material is not as important. “Teachers at all levels . . . need to be aware that the standards for each grade level provide an indication of the content that is expected to come before and after” (Saunders et al. 24). This will prepare the students for the future, and it will give them a great foundation for life, because “these standards are aligned to the expectations of colleges, workforce training programs, and employers. The standards promote equity by ensuring all students are well prepared to collaborate and compete with their peers in the United States and abroad” (CCSSO and NGA Center).
Change can be difficult to embrace, but it is often a good thing. Many people believe that, since what schools are doing now seems to be working, nothing needs to be changed. However, there is always room for improvement. By using the Common Core Standards, schools are putting in an effort to reduce the number of uneducated adults by preventing them in the first place. Though many of the procedures observed in the Common Core are different than those observed in the past, they have clear initiatives that will benefit students. “With students, parents, and teachers all on the same page and working together toward shared goals, we can ensure that students make progress each year and graduate from high school prepared to succeed in college, career, and life” (CCSSO and NGA Center). If everyone works together, the Common Core will be a great success.
The Common Core Standards allow for creativity. Contrary to what many believe, the standards are not an exact curriculum. “The Common Core is not a curriculum. It is a clear set of shared goals and expectations for what knowledge and skills will help our students succeed. Local teachers, principals, superintendents, and others will decide how the standards are to be met. Teachers will continue to devise lesson plans and tailor instruction to the individual needs of the students in their classrooms” (CCSSO and NGA Center). It is up to the educators to decide how they will be teachers the skills required by the standards. This gives the opportunity to keep the students interested, and it also gives the opportunity to conform to each student’s individual learning needs. “It is more important than ever for teachers to creatively engage students with effective instructional strategies and adapt content to the needs of individual learners. If standards establish the ‘what,’ then teachers determine the ‘how’” (Kendall 28).
There are many people including students, teachers, and parents who do not agree with the Common Core Standards. However, most of the “facts” that are believed to be true about the Common Core are actually not. “Most states have adopted the Common Core State Standards and are working to develop assessments that align with those new standards. Yet two-thirds of Americans have never heard of the standards or the assessments” (Maunsell 61). These people are simply illinformed. Many believe that all of the material for teachers is picked for them. The standards only specify what material the students need to learn. The teachers are in charge of how they learn it. Some say the standards are “inappropriate and too high” (Hess and McShane 64), and they are bad for the mental health of students, causing fear and anxiety and destroying self-esteem. According to a blogger known as Reality-Based Educator, the sole purpose of The Common Core is to force students into thinking that when anyone is ahead of them, the students must be doing something wrong. Though the ways of The Common Core may seem difficult and complicated at first, once the standards have been in place for a few years, the students will have had a chance to adapt. “By engaging students dialogically in investigations of complex and compelling visual texts, we have observed strong investigative initiative and the genuine desire to learn” (Franco and Unrath 30). The human mind is an incredible thing, and it is capable of much more than most people realize, even at a young age. The strategies used with the Common Core may seem too complicated now, but soon they will be considered completely normal. The students just need time to get into the swing of things.
Parents, teachers, and students should give the Common Core a chance, because it will give students the necessary skills for college and future careers. It will allow parents and teachers to pinpoint exactly where students are struggling, allowing for an easy fix. Teachers will still be able to teach how they want to. Creativity will not only remain in the classroom, but it will be encouraged. Though change seems scary at times, with cooperation and communication, it can make great improvements. In time, “all students [will be] prepared for the 21st century” (Kendall 11).
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