Society and Culture, Education

3 easy steps to understanding the Common Core

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Image Credit: Shutterstock

The Common Core — a state-led effort to implement rigorous, national K-12 standards for math and reading — has become one of the most hotly debated issues facing American education. In recent months, the Republican National Committee and the American Federation of Teachers have both raised serious concerns, albeit for very different reasons, about the standards, which have been adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia.

Policymakers, practitioners, and parents have asked questions like “Are these standards really more rigorous,” “Is this effort an example of federal overreach or are states more empowered,” or “Will teachers have the necessary training and tools so that they can align their instruction to the new standards?” But they, and #stopcommoncore and #supportthecore Twitter campaigners, have ignored equally crucial implementation questions such as “Will CCSS work with or against new teacher evaluation efforts,” “Will it aid or inhibit the increased use of technology to drive instruction,” “Will it limit charter schooling autonomy,” or “Will it deflate the focus on science and social studies standards?”

My colleague Mike McShane is on a hard-nosed quest to find answers to the these questions because, ultimately, the effort “will rise and fall on how it is implemented in schools and classrooms across the country.” And what will happen if the Common Core fails? As Rick Hess, the director of education policy here at AEI, says “because standards and assessments are so integral to schooling… a [Common Core] train wreck… will have all kinds of unfortunate consequences.” In order to better understand an issue that will affect every aspect of K-12 schooling, I recommend you take three important steps:

1. Watch Mike McShane’s Top 3 video (below) on the Common Core.

2. Read5 Things Every Parent Needs to Know About the Common Core” and AEI’s recent research paper series, which addresses how the Common Core will affect other school improvement efforts.

3. Engage in the conversation. Don’t just jump on the pro- or anti- bandwagon; ask hard questions and seek out answers… because kids’ futures are depending on it.

5 thoughts on “3 easy steps to understanding the Common Core

  1. If I thought this core idea would just stick to the basic elements, math, english, and science I would even worry about it. but it won’t, and this is probably where you see the worry on both sides in this issue.

    what worries be is that this will really be about children of the (cor E n) in the fields of “feelings”

    That first video told me nothing. Basically sold the obvious. Not hating it, but didn’t answer many questions. I will go through the other sets of information you gave. Thanks for the thread.

  2. Commoncore is a federal take over of the education system. Not the state as your first sentence says. It has never been tested which is contrary to any other education system that has been tried in the past. The federal govt is dangling carrots to the states to implement but the actual costs to the states is much more and the reasons that more and more states at not jumping on the band wagon. It is important to look at both sides and I have done that. I have looked at the math questions they are in no way reflective on traditional math that is paramount for getting thru life. Last and probably most important is that this is a violation of the constitution usurping states rights. That should frighten all who understand the far reach I the government in our everyday lives already. It is parents responsibility to educate themselves about commoncore but like many things there has been no transparency about this program by our politicians or our local school boards. Shameful

  3. “Under No Child Left Behind, if a state needed more students to clear a particular proficiency bar, it had two options. It could either do a better job educating students and let the students clear the bar themselves, or it could take the easy way out and simply lower the bar. Unfortunately, many states decided to take the latter option, defining proficiency down and dumbing down their standards so more students could pass”

    remember ted kennedy stood side by side with bush on this one.

    The video starts off with this sort of problem……

  4. Surprised Acton recommended this. It almost says nothing. The video is useless. The 5 things article doesn’t share the most important issues opponents have with Common Core. I don’t get it.

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