Common Core. Common Core State Standards. CCSS.
In some circles, these are dreaded words I have read the rants, heard many complaints, held my tongue, and waited. I have also responded when I felt it appropriate. I have come to a place now that I feel confident in sharing my own personal opinions about Common Core, especially in light of all the misinformed statements I have seen come up recently.
- The CCSS are a set of rigorous, academic standards.
- The CCSS are not a test.
- The CCSS will be assessed by a variety of tests (SBAC and PAARC are the two main consortiums). Liking/hating the standards and the test are two different things and they should be separated.
The Common Core State Standards have potential:
- To be successful IF implemented by a system that designed a clear, focused plan for implementation that includes communication, support, and TIME for teachers to learn and plan with understanding!
- To be completely unsuccessful if implemented without all of the above (as I have sadly seen/heard of happening in districts across the country).
- To help us close the achievement gap and provided more equity in systems where students of color and students from poverty have consistently been left behind.
- To open the doors for nation-wide discussions about our public educational system.
- To enhance national collaboration among educators.
ALL of our children deserve to leave their K-12 education ready for either college or a career of their choosing. All of our children deserve the opportunity to read a variety of texts, think critically, write analytically, and speak eloquently. I know many adults who still need practice in some of these areas.
When I think about social justice, or the reasons that we in California have the Williams Legislation, I think of all of the students who have been under-served by programs with no standards, with poorly implemented standards, or with low expectations for certain student groups. While the Common Core State Standards are by no means perfect, nor the magic bullet we need to fix the problems we have within the education system, they give us a new, common ground from which to start.
My colleague Barb shared her own opinion about the recent debates in this eloquent blog that says it much better than I ever could!
What are your thoughts? I’d love to continue the discussion with educators who are experiencing CCSS roll-outs.