What is the Common Core and how did it Come to Be?

The Common Core Standards Initiative

The Common Core Standards Initiative aims to establish consistent standards for pupils from kindergarten through grade 12. It describes what students should understand and be able to do as they get ready to start education and become future workers. A crucial component of these standards is the ability to be practical and implement knowledge from real-world situations. Currently, English language writing and reading are taught along with mathematics. Their overarching goal is to align the minds of all American pupils. In 2006-2007, former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano was the chair of the National Governors Association. She wrote an initiative for the year as expected of every chair. Her initiative had a strong focus on improving mathematics, science, and the workforce (Bidwell). Due to her, America could not progress without a competitive education system. She then established the task force made up of governors, commissioners of education, corporate chief executive officers and recognized educational experts. In December 2008, they released the report, the foundation of Common Core, currently approved by 45 states and the District of Columbia.

Another School of Thought

Another school of thought considers the Common Core to be the brainchild of the ‘No Child Left Behind’ (NCLB) policy. During the reign of George W. Bush, education law mandated the federal government to test, disaggregate and report on student’s performance yet continue to decide which standards to test and use (Bidwell). Since many schools looked bad, due to hard tests or standards, the Common Core came in as a remedy to this worrying situation.

What Do Its Supporters Say?

The final standards were released in 2010. Various interest groups have supported them. First, they argue that the standards countervail innovation which restricts flexibility and creativity. It occurs, when teachers focus on helping students to learn. For instance, they allow a teacher to plug another teacher’s lesson into their own curriculum. Content developers benefit by way of knowing that their material will remain relevant for a significant duration of time. Besides, they can test new products on a small scale and success achieved can reflect effectiveness across the nation (Bleiber and West). It means innovation to be supported by the standards.

Another supporting view suggests that it is easier to communicate ideas between and within the various professions that make contributions to education. Since teachers and other professionals like psychologists and social workers are technically isolated, the Common Core provides the common platform for discussing education goals. It might result in the development of unique interventions. In this way, professionals can work in a manner that is mutually beneficial.

The Common Core is also seen to benefit personalized. The standards could push educational software to new territories. It permits for larger big data systems. It provides researchers to access and compare increased data. Incorporating this data and analyzing it in terms of students and assessments is critical (Bleiber and West). It allows designers to come up with more robust learning definition. It is critical in improving personalized learning.

What Do Critics of the Common Core Say?

Critics of the Common Core raise serious concerns. One argument is that the standards are prescriptive and restrictive on teachers. Teaching is dynamic and students need to learn through exploration and discovery (Bleiber and West). Used standards forces teachers to use scripted lessons, it is simply an attempt to impose order.

Another criticism is that the accountability provisions of the Common Core are too punitive. The proficiency grades expected in each grade highly disadvantage learners from poor families and those with disabilities. The demand that all students achieve same high levels is not only lofty, but also largely unrealistic (Bleiber and West). Consequently, standardized tests cannot correctly measure what students learn.

The previous reform based on the standards was unsuccessful. This criticism supports research that has revealed that improving standards is not a guarantee of improved performance. Therefore, harmonized standards would have an insignificant impression. Further, the ‘No Child Left Behind’ initiative already put in place standards that are common across states (Bleiber and West). Therefore, standardization is unnecessary.

What Do I Think?

On my opinion, the Common Core is a noble initiative. My argument is based on the thoroughness used in designing this framework. Basically, the common standards used are superior to individual state designed mechanisms. An example is the examination tests. Rather than use paper and pencil, computer tests are done. An advantage would be the ease of marking and grading, reduced scoring errors, accommodation for students into the assessment, adaptability of the test based on skill level, reduced cheating, and the ability to assess a larger domain. Various other aspects of the Common Core with regard to innovation, collaboration and personalized teaching show that the benefits of standardization are more than the disadvantages.

Works Cited

Bidwell, Allie. “The History of Common Core State Standards.” U.S. News & World Report, LLC, 2014, https://www.usnews.com/news/special-reports/articles/2014/02/27/the-history-of-common-core-state-standards. Accessed 27 Feb. 2014.

Bleiberg, Joshua, and Darrell West. “In Defence of the Common Core Standards.” Centre for Technology Innovation, 2014, https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Bleiberg_West_Common-Core-State-Standards.pdf. Accessed Mar. 2014.

“The Common Core FAQ.” NPR.Org, 2014, http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2014/05/27/307755798/the-common-core-faq. Accessed 27 May 2014.

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