Does this sound familiar regarding Common Core Standards?
It seems like everywhere you turn there’s another debate about implementation of the Common Core Standards. Unfortunately, most of the attention is one sided, which makes it really difficult to make an informed decision as to whether Common Core State Standards are positive or negative for our children. As an elementary teacher and the parent of a 6th grader and a 3rd grader, I have seen both sides of the debate (adminstrators and politicians raving about the necessity and importance of the standards on one hand, frustrated parents venting on Facebook about how awful this new math homework is on the other). I am NOT here to pass judgment or even hint at my own personal feelings on the subject, but thought it would be nice to provide some information on the Common Core Standards so you can better understand them and come to your own conclusions.
Overview of the Common Core Standards
The mission statement of the Common Core State Standards Initiative is as follows:
The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.
At present, Forty-five states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity have adopted the Common Core State Standards. You can read FAQ about the CCSS here. The Standards focus primarily on Math and English Language Arts. Key Points In English Language Arts focus on reading, writing, speaking and listening, language, and media and technology. For more details on these key points click here. Mathematics Standards are broken down according to age. The K-5 standards provide students with a solid foundation in whole numbers, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions and decimals—which help young students build the foundation to successfully apply more demanding math concepts and procedures, and move into applications. The middle school standards are robust and provide a coherent and rich preparation for high school mathematics. Finally, the high school standards call on students to practice applying mathematical ways of thinking to real world issues and challenges; they prepare students to think and reason mathematically. Click here to see all Key Points in Mathematics.
So What Does All of This Mean to Me?
No doubt about it, the new standards are overwhelming to both teachers and parents. Teachers must learn new strategies and implement them into lessons that adhere to CCSS guidelines. Parents must learn to change their ways of thinking from the ways they learned as children in order to help their own kids. Most people don’t like change; it’s scary, uncomfortable, and sometimes just a big pain in the you-know-where. But, at the end of the day, we must focus on what is most important: the education of our children. Whether or not you agree with the new standards, it seems that, at least for now, they are here to stay. As such, it is important to try to understand and accept them in the best interests of our children. Here is an infographic that contains pretty much everything you need to know to get you started:
Here are some great resources to help you teach utilizing the CCSS: