The Common Core Standards are a set of high-quality academic standards that outline what a student should know at the end of each grade level in English/Language Arts and mathematics. The goal is to raise student achievement across in every school district across all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups.
Unfortunately, the Common Core has come under fire as rumor and myth about what the standards are, and are not, run rampant. We address some of the top myths and help you sort out fact from fiction.
1. The Common Core standards mandate more testing.
Actually, the Common Core standards simply require different testing, rather than an increase in testing hours. Because teachers emphasize concepts and skills, rather than rote memorization of facts, testing that aligns with the Common Core standards simply emphasizes those skills that students have been taught in the classroom.
2. The standards are just another federally mandated aspect of No Child Left Behind.
The Common Core standards are an initiative of governors throughout the nation. The standards were created and adopted in 2009 and 2010 by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers for elementary and secondary schools.
Though the standards are supported by the federal government, the standards were not created by federal entities nor or the standards mandated by federal agencies.
3. The Common Core standards emphasize informational text at the expense of literature.
The Common Core standards simply require that a student’s reading is balanced throughout the school day, not within a single language arts class. This means that reading informational text in other subject areas such as science and social studies helps to meet this requirement. Teachers and students are still able to dive into engaging literature.
4. The Common Core standards are a national curriculum.
In education, a curriculum refers to the materials and methods in which teachers use to do their jobs. A set of academic standards is not a curriculum, but an expectation of what will be taught. Teachers have immense freedom to use their talents and classroom artistry to educate their students.
5. The Common Core standards are not developmentally appropriate.
By now we have all seen the worksheets that have been making the rounds on social media with angry parent notes about the “ridiculousness of third-grade math.” The Common Core standards encourage a movement in the classroom from covering content to teaching concepts and practicing skills which are necessary to encourage higher-order thinking in our students.
6. The Common Core standards have students reading texts that are too difficult.
Studies have shown that the key to increasing student comprehension and reading skills is to engage in challenging texts. Teachers show students how to analyze the text through close reading strategies and come to a comprehension of text that is challenging but appropriate.
As Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence:
“All experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer … than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed …”
In other words, people are resistant to change. The Common Core surely represents change in our educational system, but it is a positive one.
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