The Common Core
Initiated in 2009, NGA and CCSSO established consistent learning goals across states that would determine a clear framework for educators known as the Common Core State Standards (About the Standards, 2018). The Common Core educational standards benefit society by providing an outline of academic growth in the modern world helpful to planning future development in this area. The rules that regulate educational needs for students, K-12, ensure their readiness for post-high school endeavors such as college and entry-level careers. These committees have developed the curriculum through evidence and research to make them meaningful. These standards are a means to improve the critical thinking skills that a High School Diploma represents.
Whether or not the standards are perfect, the idea behind having core educational milestones is positive in itself. It is a way to implement specific knowledge for students that will help them succeed later on in their lives. If the standards are too high, or not high enough, the repercussions could have a negative impact on society. The high standards may not be achieved nationwide which would cause some states to outperform another. This type of discourse could be an incentive to lower the standards in one area or another. On the other hand, lowering the standards too much would show less academic growth and put our nation farther behind on a global scale. Developing a nationwide standard is difficult as “most states set undemanding standards, and the quality of their assessments varied widely” (Jochim & McGuinn, 2016). The differences show that standardizing core concepts, despite demographics and geography, would increase the overall proficiency of students everywhere if taken seriously.
Balanced standards invite healthy educational growth that aids our nation as a whole by improving our student’s capabilities after they graduate. The Common Core standards stimulate a conversation that means to improve the lives of students in the ever-changing world. Knowing where the current system excels (and where it falls short) is a crucial step in understanding how to make the standards better for the students. Despite if the current iteration is too aggressive or too meek, it is in everyone’s best interest to be involved so the benefits can be recognized and repeated.
Everyone can reflect on their education and think of the things they wish they knew better. Our childhood education shapes a lot of our values that we bring to college and into the workplace. We know that education has a profound impact on a youth’s values because it is a part of our unalienable rights: “In the Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations, it is indicated that education should strengthen human rights and freedom while supporting tolerance among different religious groups, ethnicities and nations (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948)” (as cited in Journal of Social Studies Education Research, 2013). The Common Core focuses on building upon the most relevant skills in current state standards and how these skills translate into real life challenges. Research skills, critical-thinking, problem-solving, and how to apply these strategies effectively, are just some of the foundational pieces that make the standards necessary.
Already built on existing state standards, the Common Core looks to continually adapt to changing times, allowing for more aggressive milestones to be reached by more individuals. Although the criteria may seem abstract at first, it is an immense responsibility to identify a baseline of skills a society should understand. This is where tough leadership and follow-through will pay off. It is up to everyone; students, teachers, and alumni, to find efficient ways to continue to grow the effort. “Supporters of the common core standards have also been concerned that the base of support could erode when the first results are released from the new assessments designed to measure student performance against them.” (Rothman, 2014). Additional resources and effort are required, but the effort is well worth it according to many academic stakeholders. “Among all principals who responded, more than 80 percent said the standards have the potential to provide students with deeper learning and more meaningful assessments of their knowledge and skills…” (Maxwell, 2014). Without the standards, we could find ourselves teaching less-important skills and inhibit the learning potential for generations to come.
The Common Core Standards Initiative is an excellent platform for understanding what we consider relevant information to prepare our students for their futures. Alone, it is the perfect example for realizing a congruence should exist in the first place. Having core knowledge and core values are both very important to society as they cannot be adapted to societal changes if they did not exist in such a clear format. By asserting that individuals be held to a standard curriculum, it allows for us to highlight the areas that show the most impact. A standard aligns knowledge to the reality of demands that will be expected of them when they graduate high school. If we do not hold all the students to the same standards, we lose the thought that everyone deserves a chance at the same opportunities. We should all get involved in what we learn and what our children are expected to learn. Compare these ideas to what you know now and what you wish you learned before graduating high school.
Jochim, A., McGuinn, P. (2016). The Politics of the Common Core Assessments. Education Next; Cambridge 16(4).
Fatih Yigit, M. & Tarman, B. (2013). The Place and Importance of Values Education in 4th and 5th Grade Primary School Social Studies Textbooks. Journal of Social Studies Education Research.
Rothman, R. (2014). The Common Core Takes Hold. Education Next; Cambridge 14(3).
Lesli A., M. (2014, 8 Jan.) Common Core: "Leadership for the Common Core". Education Week; Bethesda 33(15).