Most of the country’s 50 states have adopted what’s known as the Common Core Standards Initiative, which provides rules that each state must follow in order to provide a standard education for all children in the areas of English Language Arts and Mathematics. It’s been widely debated since its introduction in 2009, when Kentucky became the first state to implement the curriculum, with some states working to repeal or replace the Common Core standards they initially adopted.
Although Kentucky reported increased graduation rates, tests scores and life readiness skills, not all states have seen such success. States that first took on the practice of the Common Core Standards – like Missouri, Oklahoma and both Carolinas – have since decided that the educational standards laid out by a Common Core curriculum are not fitting their state’s needs. The standards are copyrighted by the NGA Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers, of which a license is offered to all schools on two conditions: the use of the curriculum must be in support of Common Core standards, and schools that use Common Core must adopt the standards in whole.
Since some states fully support Common Core while others oppose it, this is a good time to take a look at some of the pros and cons that surround what Common Core stands for.
The Pros Of The Common Core Standards
Even though this topic is widely debated amongst parents, educators, state officials and lawmakers, there are some pros of this educational implementation that can’t be ignored.
- Common Core standards will allow all states to compare standardized test scores in an accurate manner – if each state is teaching the same curriculum there will be no difference in how test results are measured across the board. Until Common Core was introduced in 2009, each state had their own set of standards of how to rate the educational abilities of their students, which created some confusion
- These standards are internationally benchmarked, which means that Common Core will compare favorably to the education standards of other countries. The United States has dropped by several educational rankings over the last few decades, so having a standard curriculum that is internationally benchmarked will help America see improved results.
- The Common Core Standard will help decrease the costs associated with developing and providing each state’s own set of standardized testing. Every state that participates in Common Core can work together on developing a test that meets their educational needs, thus helping to split the costs associated with such development, scoring and reporting.
- For families that are always on the move for one reason or another, the Common Core Standard will allow children to continue their education right where they left off, no matter what state they might be in. Children in California will receive the same standards of education as children in Florida, which means there will be no regression in learning or struggling to keep up with concepts they might not be familiar with quite yet.
- More accountability is placed on students through testing and homework, which means they can no longer provide a simple right answer for a question – they must then show the process for which they arrived at the answer, eliminating cheating and mathematical calculator work. This shows children how to work for and subsequently defend the answer they’ve arrived at.
The Cons Of The Common Core Standards
Just as there are positive results from a Common Core curriculum, there are negatives, as well. Here’s a look at some of the cons that come from implementing the Common Core Standard.
- Common Core standards are broad and vague, which can lead to confusion in how the curriculum should be taught. While there are definite rules for education regarding children up until grade 8, it seems that grades 9-12 don’t have any set regulations or content that needs to be provided, which is then left up to the school’s discretion.
- This standardized way of learning currently only focusing on two areas – English Language Arts and Math – which leaves out two other important subjects: science and social studies. The Next Generation Science Standards were introduced in 2013, however, but they don’t directly relate to Common Core.
- Implementing a Common Core curriculum places more value on the results of standardized testing than the process in which children are learning specific concepts. This will lead to a competition between states as they rush to see who will have the best test results, essentially treating children as test scores and not people.
- Common Core relies heavily on technology to complete the outlined curriculum, which can place a heavy financial burden on schools as computers and other technological media replace textbooks.
- The Common Core assessment tests are not designed for children with special needs, nor is there an equivalency test. This means that when a school reports their tests scores, 100% accountability goes to each and every student, regardless of disability.
- Adjusting to Common Core is a difficult transition for both teachers and children alike, and might cause educators to step down from their positions to pursue other educational avenues. Choosing a Common Core curriculum will be a hard process as children adjust to a completely different way of learning than they’re used to, and educators are forced to adhere to a teaching method they might not feel comfortable with.
While there are definite pros and cons for the Common Core Standards Initiative, the choice in your child’s schooling is still up to you. If you live in a state that has not adopted this new curriculum, you might consider relocating to one that does. On the other hand, if you are in the midst of Common Core and oppose its principles, you might want to move to a state that has not yet adopted these standards. Homeschooling is also an option, should you have the resources to provide a fair education for your child.
Special Education Resource understands there is no one right or wrong way to teach a child what they need to know, and offer custom lesson plans and one-on-one tutoring for the times you need it most. Supplemental learning is becoming an increasingly popular method of ensuring children reach their excellence.