Common Core has been implemented for 5
years already, however it was only last school year that all of the Santa Barbara and Goleta school districts committed to the reform. So, how is it doing, how are we doing- a year later?
The Common Core standards were created to change the nation’s education system by raising academic performance and improving our competitiveness globally. It clearly has accomplished its first objective of revolutionizing the education system however, change can be slow, and in this case, has resulted in both controversy and confusion.
You know it’s confusing when you have both sides of the political spectrum – The Koch Brothers, Jeb Bush, Occupy Wall Street and Teacher’s Unions, all uniting to oppose Common Core. Liberals fear that the curriculum and standard evaluations will alienate students and teachers. Conservatives fear the “one size fits all” approach limits how teachers teach and stifles student learning. In between the political uproar are the parents and students who simply want to do their best at getting through the system and onto college. And teachers who simply want to do their best job of guiding children into success.
Some pros from Common Core are showing:
Academic standards are showing a rise in competing with national and global education.
A majority of teachers (68%) feel Common Core is working well.
Testing is shifting away from rote learning and memorization towards more practical skills like problem solving and writing skills.
Social studies and science play a more prominent role in standardized testing.
It is easier for students to maintain academic consistency if they move from state to state.
Better teacher creativity and collaboration with each teachers.
Some Cons from Common Core are showing:
Teachers are struggling to be more creative with their lesson plans.
Textbooks are becoming obsolete, putting more pressure on the teachers.
The testing gives no concessions for students with special needs, resulting in confusing outcomes and results.
It has not eliminated all the nonsense testing. It has become more rigorous and confusing.
Concern that local input is lessened as there is more of a push toward a “Federalized System”
Every school system must purchase upgraded technology and teaching materials. This has been a great burden on some districts.
While Governors in 43 states have approved Common Core Standards since 2013, parents and teachers have been struggling to figure out what it means and how to implement it.
It is clear that Common Core Standards has had a major impact. What is unclear are the long term effects. How these issues are worked out will determine the success or failure of this initiative. The bottom line is that change is slow moving and it is just too soon to accurately measure the impact- so judgment is pending.