It’s no secret that many of the states are going to Common Core State Standards. It’s also no secret that many (many many) people are adamantly against them. Apparently some states adopted them and then changed their mind and backed out. Who knows, maybe many more will too and CCSS will be a thing of the past.
Granted they’re not perfect, they don’t follow developmental norms, and they treat everyone equal…but ALL state standards do that. I mean, HELLO! NCLB has school mandated to reach 100% proficiency EVEN students in special education. Like that’s doable! Talk about setting kids up to fail!
To me, one thing I like is that with CCSS what a student is exposed to per grade – should be pretty standard across the nation. I like that…I like knowing that if I move, my daughter will have been exposed to/taught to the same standards no matter where we go. I like knowing that kids moving into our district will all be exposed to synonyms/antonyms at which grade, division at which grade, etc… It makes being able to decide if a child has a lack of knowledge or a delay a bit easier.
The other thing I like about the CCSS is that it teaches skills. No more memorization… no more “teaching the test”… It is probably an unpopular view, but I’m all for teaching skills. I can look up proper grammar, I can look up the dates of wars, and I can look up a mathematical equation…provided I’ve been given the skills to do just that. Educators need to teach problem solving, perseverance, and critical thinking skills.
Think about it, what got us through school? What keeps us working and getting paid? Frankly, many kids these days give up way too quick, have no idea how to stick to something that’s difficult, and have no clue how to solve a problem. Now that I’ve really ticked some people off – please know I don’t mean every one. I know some fabulous teachers who bend over backwards to give the students the skills they need…I also know there are some who don’t.
Now…before I’m burned at the stake and you decide to unfollow me… Please know, I’m not 100% gung-ho (wait…is that a politically correct term?) on CCSS. Do they have bad points – of course they do. Yes, I think it’s ludicrous to test Kindergarten students…But I also think it’s a shame that athletics is more important than academics in many schools…and that the focus in kindergarten has shifted from social skills and a love of school to reading and math. I mean, the kinder kids in my schools are reading books before Christmas, they are doing addition and subtraction by Christmas. Kids have to know more earlier. That’s a fact of life. Do I like it? NO. I think kinder kids should be learning how to play with each other, follow directions, and learn how to listen…in short learn how to “do school” so they have success. But it is a fact of life that kids are in daycare from early on, many are in preschool from age 3 and by the time they are coming to kindergarten, they’ve already had 2 or 3 years of “school”. Face it folks…times are changing whether we like them or not. Perhaps it’s time to update the developmental norms (okay…ducking and running on that one…Good thing I have flame retardant underwear!).
Maybe I’m spoiled. My state has had state standards for many years. I honestly don’t know how many – but at least 7. I still had to use the state standards to guide what I’m doing in therapy…just as I am for CCSS. Am I using it to create my goals? Of course not.
I’m taking the standards and saying – THIS – is where I need my student to get to…How do I get them there? Do I think they all will? Of course not – if they could they wouldn’t need an IEP. I look at the CCSS as a signpost…a direction to head. The mode of transportation and how far I go is completely up to me. I constantly hear that CCSS leaves our kids behind… Uhm.. Yeah. So do state standards. That’s no different. Our kids ARE behind. If they weren’t they wouldn’t be on IEPs.
I think, and perhaps this is even more controversial, that CCSS holds teachers accountable. It forces them to consider – WHY – are they requiring a student to learn XYZ? Does it have anything to do with what they need for life? Or is it because “we’ve always taught it?” (as an aside, I really hate the phrase “we’ve always done it this way.” That’s code for I don’t want to change and you can’t make me!)
Change is hard… Is CCSS good change? I honestly don’t know. Like all change there’s good – there’s bad – and there’s in between. For now? I’m not going to make judgments. I’m going to get more information and see what’s truly happening.
Sooo…If you went to kindergarten and know how to play nice*…Tell me what you know about CCSS. Give me your logical reasons for and against (and yes, I know there will be more against – that’s a given). Also…tell me what you’re using now (or used in the past) to guide where kids should be going. Did your state have state standards before adopting CCSS?
Until then….Adventure on!
*if you don’t know how to play nice and are going to rant and rave that I’m an idiot or you spew other hate and vitriol please don’t post…the comments will be deleted. I truly want to hear your opinion and read your valid and well-thought out arguments for and against CCSS.