2011 Really Good U: What the Common Core Standards Mean For You
Jonathan’s’s family is moving this summer. They are relocating from the deep south to a small town in Massachusetts. When Jonathan enters his third grade classroom in the fall he will be behind in some areas and ahead in others. The discrepancies in what he knows are not because his school in the south was in anyway inferior, but simply did not have the same standards as his new school in Massachusetts. Enter the Common Core Standards (CCS) and, theoretically, Jonathan can move to any school in any of the states that have adopted the CCS and he will be right on track with his new classmates. Find out what that means for you and what you need to know about the Common Core Standards to help you get ready.
There is a lot of misconception about who started the Common Core Standards Initiative (CCSI). Many think that the federal government had a direct hand in developing and shaping the CCS as a way of nationalizing education. What surprises many is that the CCSI was, and continues to be, a state-led initiative. Not all states have adopted the CCS, but the majority of them have. While implementation may be delayed for a couple of years in most states, some have pushed forward with implementation beginning as early as the 2011-2012 school year. If your state has decided that this is the year that the CCS will be taking effect, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with them now instead of waiting until the week before school begins. This week we will be breaking down both the language arts and math CCS to help you get a better understanding of them.
In order to be included into the CCS, the standards were evaluated based on criteria that was both practical and research based. One of the keys was that the standard must be realistic and able to be taught and implemented in the classroom. For teachers, this means that all of the standards for their grade level are, or should be, easy to incorporate into lessons. This may be realistic for those whose current state standards are similar to the CCS, but for those who come from states where the CCS includes some radical shifts from the current standards, it can be a daunting task to have them ready for September.
Since the CCS tackle standards from 12th Grade down to Kindergarten, they impact teachers at all grade levels. While teachers will still get to decide how to teach the concepts within the confines of their school or district’s guidelines, they onus will fall on the classroom teacher to find or create materials that directly relate to the standards. Naturally, the first few years of implementation promise to be more work as teachers must rely on new materials or lessons for a number of the standards. What is important to remember is that because so many teachers are in the same position of having the CCS adopted in their state, the creation of new materials will be available at a fast and furious rate as the first few years progress.
For the classroom teacher, the CCS do a few things beyond promising more work upon the initial adoption and implementation. They give teachers a consistent set of standards upon which effective and exciting lessons can be built. They ensure that new students have the same background in subjects when they transfer in, thus, making the transition easier for both the student and the teacher. The CCS also give teachers a clear list of what is expected of each child in terms of academic progression. While some teachers and unions oppose the CCS, they offer a common set of expectations that may just make teaching easier.
Join us this week as we continue to discuss the CCS and give you resources for materials and lessons that will address the new curriculum. #TeachChat on Wednesday, July 13th at 9pm will focus on the CCS and provide you with an opportunity to bounce ideas off of other educators who are also facing the implementation of a new curriculum. We hope you will join us!