I hate to generalize, but educators are some of the most reasonable, most well-tempered people in the working world. Perhaps, you agree. Our teachers endure the scorn and wrath of students while often maintaining the composure to motivate and instruct. Gather these otherwise affable individuals together in a room and it’s a shindig, but mention the Common Core State Standards and that’s when things can get unseemly. Fewer topics these days divide teachers more than talks of the Common Core. Here are six reasons that might explain why people love or hate the Common Core:
Standardization in education gives educators an opportunity to work together, leveraging the collective knowledge of teachers across the states. Resources and knowledge sharing come as a by-product of everyone speaking the same curriculum language. Common Core dissolves the barriers that would otherwise isolate teachers in their individual state’s requirements. Now, a 7th grade ELA teacher in Oregon can share her lesson plan on Charles Dickens with a teacher in Florida, who can introduce it seamlessly in her own classroom.
Raises the Bar
The Common Core State Standards are internationally benchmarked and designed to better prepare students for real-world situations. They guide educators in highlighting deep, critical thinking and rigor. In light of the United States’ education system slipping rank over the past couple decades, the Common Core’s serves as a unifying force in our the nation’s push back to the top. Countries like South Korea, Singapore and Finland have all had great success employing national standardization.
Integrates Interdisciplinary Learning
CCSS encourages students to get their hands dirty, learning across subjects and fortifying a wide array of skills. This plays a pivotal role in teaching students real world application. Students can perform a math project about the ratio of deaths to survivors on the Titanic while examining the historical facts behind the tragedy.
Although the Common Core is designed to better prepare students for real-world situations, some states claim that localized teaching is the best option. States feel limited in tailoring education to their region’s specific industry needs and argue that students are left unprepared for their local environment. An example of this is if a region has a thriving oil industry, localization might advocate for vocational education aligned with this specific demand. In this case, standardization could inhibit preparation of students interested in this industry, thus contradicting CCSS’ high-level objective.
Raises Stakes on Test Scores
Along with the CCSS comes a tidal wave of assessments for tracking progress and achievement. Educators are experiencing great amounts of pressure as their work is evaluated by the test scores of their students. This weight on testing may be unfair as students themselves face varied test formats and digitized assessment environments.
Data Mines Student Information
Common Core has been given an Orwellian stigma because its standards include clauses allowing large-scale student data collection. Claimed to be used solely for analysis within the education sector, this alleged “invasion of privacy” provokes anxiety amongst many parents and teachers. Many fear that this database of information may be exploited by corrupt political groups and corporations.