If you have been around “teacher friends” this summer, you have likely
heard the current educational buzz words, “The Common Core Standards”
(CCS). This set of state-initiated standards, adopted by forty five of the
fifty states, has been created to ensure continuity and college and career
Beginning at the pre-kindergarten (pre-k) level and going through grade 12,
the CCS initiative is a state-led effort.
The CCS are the collaboration of teachers, school administrators, and
educational experts. These new standards have been developed in order
to provide a clear and consistent framework, which will better prepare our
children for college and the workforce. This consistency will also benefit
students who move into new school districts or new states.
By providing more effective standards in math and language arts and
supplying these standards to teachers who will be valuable in meeting
these academic goals, participating states will have the possibility to “level
the playing field” for students across The United States of America.
Regardless of demographics and socioeconomic status, the majority of
students in our nation (providing they work hard and succeed), will be college
and career ready.
As this new school year approaches, you may be asking, “What do these CCS
mean for me and my children?”
These new standards have been researched and have produced curriculum at
each level Pre-K through 12, which focuses on what is most needed and can
be best taught at each grade level. Math and language arts curriculum have
been scrutinized and the new standards reflect a cumulative approach to
teaching which may result in teaching less material at each grade-level, but
doing more in-depth teaching of the material required.
For example, in kindergarten, New York State Standards required teaching
of time and money in kindergarten. These topics are now omitted from the
kindergarten Common Core Standards. There are less topics to be covered
over the same ten months, therefore leaving teachers to delve into math
concepts such as numbers and operations and counting and cardinality more
thoroughly; allowing for greater student retention and understanding of
material. It is believed that this meticulous understanding will be evident in
kindergarten and as they move to first grade and beyond.
I truly hope the new Common Core Standards allow students across our
country to excel, or at least have a fair chance, in comparison with other
students, when applying for college or the workforce.
In such a fast-pace, “take things for granted” world, the theory of slowing
down and allowing for greater comprehension, may not be such a bad idea.
This school year, don’t fear the buzz of “Common Core Standards”, but
see if your child’s teacher or school has any suggestions on your role in you
child’s learning. Don’t be surprised if this is still ensuring there is reading
occurring each night, reading through word rings with young students
or encouraging focus and independence with older students. Although
strategies may be altered to achieve new goals, the basics of learning and
the encouragement and self-confidence that you can give your child will
remain-show your child you care and have confidence that they will succeed.
Informative sites on The Common Core Standards include:
Common Core State Standards Initiative
PTA’s Parents’ Guide to Student Success
Illinois State Board of Education