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Opinion: A Shiny New Education Tool

Sandy Asper attempts to explain Common Core State Standards.

Common Core Standards (CCS) is considered by teachers, administrators, and frankly me, to be "verwy, verwy" hard. Sorry, I just can't seem to get over the marriage scene in my very favorite movie " Princess Bride". Watch it. It won't inform you about CCS, but you will love it.

With the exception of a few states, CCS will be taught all over the U.S., and although it sounds great to have everyone sort of "on the same page", it is, and will be a difficult task. CCS is based on the premise that students need to read, write, do math, and think.

Speaking as a former teacher I once again say "DUH", but I enjoy the notion that simply answering multiple choice questions on an important test does not make an educated student; not to mention that those very tests make the difference in a student getting into college and a teacher being vilified. So instead of the molding to the traditional "fill in the bubble" format some of the CCS assessments will be administered on computers and will have more "open-ended" questions which will have to be graded by real people.

The reason that this "new shiny thing" has come to be is that someone actually realized that the "No Child Left Behind Model" wasn't working and a diverse group of teachers, experts, parents, and school administrators devised CCS. The  group that is providing the assessment "Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium" involves educators, researchers, policymakers, and community groups.

The cost you ask? Well, it's complicated. As of this moment this group is the go-to group for all things "Common Core" is Smarter Balanced Concortium," and is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s "Race to the Top" Program. They say that these assessments will cost about $27.31 per student. However, even though the government is funding CCS, they will have nothing to do with the development of it,  so it is not an attempt to nationalizing education.

These standards are supposed to be a common sense first step toward ensuring that children are getting the best possible education no matter where they live although teachers and districts will still determine curriculum. So ostensibly students in Georgia will have the same curriculum and test that students in the N-MUSD will have.

English and Math were the first subjects chosen because these two subjects are skills, that are used across the curriculum. They are also the subjects most frequently assessed for accountability purposes, but standards for Art, Science, and World Languages are being developed

So what are the potential problems? Teachers are going to have to change the way they teach, go to endless meetings and classes in order to change. Lack of materials which have always been a huge problem in the N-MUSD and other districts, will continue on steroids. Teaching across the curriculum is going to be expected, and that will be difficult when teaching other than English and math. When a teacher only has a limited number of minutes to teach a class, adding a English and Math to those precious minutes will be vewry vewry hard...(sorry, can't stop myself).

Newport-Mesa will be responsible for Common Core State Standards in 2014.

How do I feel about it? Later...

Here are some URL's just in case you have lost your mind and are curious this holiday season:

http://www.corestandards.org/frequently-asked-questions

http://www.smarterbalanced.org/resources-events/faqs/

and just for fun what Utah has done....

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/07/utah-withdraws-from-smart_n_1752261.html

Just Sayin...

 

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