Saturday, December 8, 2012

School Ties: National Common Core Standards Adopted by Majority of States

The national Common Core Standards set forth "rigorous" grade-level expectations for kindergarten through high school in the areas of Mathematics and English language arts. The goal of this state-led initiative, in collaboration with the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, is to prepare students for college and the work-force.

The Common Core in Mathematics for K-5 focuses on building solid foundations to apply to math concepts, procedures and applications. The standards stress procedural skills, as well as conceptual learning. Middle school standards provide preparation for high school level mathematics, and high school standards emphasize the use of mathematics and statistics to interpret data in order to get students college and career-ready.
The Common Core in English language arts focuses on grade-level expectations in the areas of reading, writing, speaking and listening, Language, Media and Technology.
According to The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a Washington D.C.-based non-profit think tank, which released a recent study comparing the states' existing standards with the Common Core Standards:

  •  No states' math standards are superior to the Common Core; 12 states' standards are close to the Common Core, whereas 39 states' standards are clearly inferior.

  • 3 states' (California, Indiana, and Washington D.C.) standards in English Language Arts are clearly superior to the Common Core; 11 states' standards are close to the Common Core whereas 37 states' standards are clearly inferior.

To date, 27 states have adopted the uniform guidelines, including New York, Massachusetts, Washington D.C., Ohio, and Michigan.

Notably, Texas, Alaska, and Virginia have opted not follow. However, more states are expected to adopt the national guidelines prior to the Obama Administration's August 2nd Race to the Top deadline, which allows states to win points for a share of the $3.4 billion award by signing on.

The debate surrounding the national Common Core Standards has been fiery.
Proponents emphasize that creating stringent uniform benchmarks will provide access to similar education to all students, prepare students to compete in a global economy, and states can save money by working together on curriculum, assessments, and textbooks.
Opponents, on the other hand, argue that standardizing education minimizes creativity and critical thinking. Some say that the national standards force states with more stringent existing standards, such as Massachusetts, to lower their benchmarks.

The adoption of the national Common Core guidelines by a majority of states, however, is a signal that the new state-led effort to standardize grade-level expectations of skills students should have warrant a try. Only time will tell how it fares in the long run.

-Lilly Golden, Examville Blog Contributor
Lilly Golden is a Blog Contributor at Examville is a global online education platform where users can connect and interact with others from around the world. Our innovative platform creates an open, virtual meeting place that allows for learning without borders. Examville facilitates online user-to-user collaborative learning at an affordable cost.