Common Core- Is It Really Needed?
School can be stressful, but it is a place to learn and improve. If there is no improvement than what is the point? Superintendents, the government, educators, etc. need to find ways to make the schools better. The common core standards are a start to this improvement. Common Core has found ways to make the school curriculum more challenging, but more beneficial for students. The standards help everyone involved in the process, are better for those who move, and has support from teachers. Therefore, the Common Core standards should be integrated in all schools throughout the United States.
The Common Core standards can be a little confusing. Basically, they are a set of standards for all schools in the United States. This allows all schools to be on the same page and tells where students should be in their education each year. Most states have adopted the standards along with other United States territories, however not all states have adopted the standards (“Preparing”). Common Core is supposed to help students become ready for college or a career if they don’t go to college while, excelling in math and reading. In fact, their message is “Preparing America’s students for success” (“Preparing”). One main reason the Common Core standards were made is because the United States wants to be where the rest of the world is on education. Another main goal is to have all states be on the same page because standards are different in each state making it hard to understand what should be taught to students (“Preparing”). Overall, the creators of the standards set out to help students improve and be prepared for the future.
As said before, Common Core is supposed to help all schools. Therefore, the schools should help everyone involved. This includes students, teachers, other faculty, parents, those with disabilities, etc. Common Core should be helpful for everyone and well organized. In fact, the Common Core standards have been shown to help teachers. Although some teachers don’t like the new teaching style, many think it is helpful. Teachers are the backbone of learning and if they don’t feel comfortable than the system will fail. However, so far this is not the case. For example, McGraw states, “They make it abundantly clear to teachers what their responsibilities are.” Teachers should understand what they are supposed to be teaching. The Common Core standards can help because there are set standards that tell exactly what they should be teaching, while still giving them freedom of teaching style. If teachers know what they are supposed to be teaching than they can teach the subjects better. Several studies have shown that teachers enjoy Common Core standards. According to Toppo, “Fewer than half of teachers say Common Core will be “positive” for most students, but among the small group of teachers who have taught for more than a year under the standards, the clear majority are enthusiastic.” While this shows that there is only a small number of positive outlooks, it still proves that in the future the standards can become better. The teachers who have been using the standards longer have shown that it just takes time. Margery Mayer stated, “Overall, we would say that the deeper they’re in, the more it’s taking root- and the more they’re seeing results in their classrooms” (qtd. in Toppo). This also shows that it takes time to figure out how to use the standards, like many new things, but eventually Common Core can help students in their education. Finally, Fink states, “yet many educators who have worked with Common Core say that one of the strengths of the standards is their focus on mastery, which they say allows them more, not less, time to concentrate on topics.” Again, the standards help teachers understand and teach the material better. There are many examples of how the Common Core standards help teachers.
Along with helping teachers the Common Core standards should help students whom have trouble with reading and math, as those are the main subjects in Common Core. “Common Core gave me the flexibility to teach to my students’ individual needs without compromising essential learning goals that ensured they would be ready for college or careers upon graduation” (McGraw). Each student learns differently, and the Common Core standards should work and fit with each of these styles. McGraw shows this and that while she is following the standards she knows that students are different. If the Common Core standards can’t fit for all students then the standards won’t work, however so far it has shown that they can help many different types of students. According to McGraw “The beauty of the CCSS is that they allow curriculum to progress at a pace conducive to student inquiry, exploration, and eventually, enduring understanding.” Again, the way students learn is important and if they need to change pace or style than the Common Core standards should allow that. Back to learners that have trouble with reading and math. Glasswell and Ford stated that, “Complex texts can expose students to concepts, vocabulary, and text structures that might not be available to them through simpler texts” (qtd. in Halladay and Moses 35). While it may be unusual to give struggling readers complex texts this shows that it can help them. The Common Core focuses on reading and understanding the readings, therefore standards can push struggling readers to grow and improve. Students are different, and their education needs need to be met as well and the common core standards can help with that.
Moving is a part of life. Some move occasionally, while others move all the time. An example of this would be military families. Moving can be difficult by itself and adding the pressure of transferring schools doesn’t help. Many times, certain credits don’t transfer over to the other school, especially if you are moving between states. I myself have been a military child my whole life and has had this happen to me. It was extremely frustrating. However, if there were a set of standards throughout the United States, such as the Common Core standards it could be beneficial to many people. The reason why some credits can’t transfer over is because the classes and what they are teaching are not the exact same. With Common Core it would be easier to transfer because everyone would be learning similar things. The only issue is that of course teaching styles could be different. However, the subjects learned would be similar. Students would be able to pick up where they left off and not have stress over repeating classes or not having enough time to complete all classes before the end of the school year.
Teachers and students are the most important part of the Common Core standards. Their thoughts help the process. So far, there seems to be a positive response about the Common Core standards. According to Fink “most of the students we talked to don’t really know much about the Common Core standards or college-and career-readiness standards.” This could be an issue because the students should be aware of what they are learning and why this system is implemented. However, this can show that students haven’t really noticed and that the Common Core standards aren’t bad. According to Matlock, et al., “In considering data through the three variables of grade level, teacher experience, and thoughts on leaving the profession, it does not appear that the teachers in this sample reflect some of the negative concerns towards the CCSS which have been currently portrayed in national media and conversations” (301). The media can be deceiving and the fact that there are positive reviews from teachers should be a good indicator that the Common Core standards can work. There of course have been negative reviews of Common Core, however “The views of these elementary school teachers were significantly different than teachers teaching ninth through twelfth; however, this group of high school teachers still has an overall positive view of the CCSS implementation” (Matlock, et al. 302). It might be harder for high school students and teachers to transfer into this new way of learning. However, the fact that teachers in high school and other grades have a positive attitude or are keeping a positive attitude shows that Common Core may have a chance.
Like most systems there are always flaws. Some studies have shown that test scores in math, and English have lowered. Which is strange because these are the main subjects for Common Core. Also, the standards have not been adopted by every state yet (“Preparing”). Which can be difficult for students who move to those states. According to Singer “The average performance of high school seniors dropped in math and failed to improve in reading from 2013 to 2015.” The Common Core standards weren’t fully implemented by many states until 2013 (“Preparing”). It is going to take time to get use to the standards and for teachers to figure out the best way to use the standards. Therefore, yes, the scores might drop because it is new, and students must adjust. However, the Common Core standards can help with time. There are not enough results past 2015 to show how the Common Core standards have been working. “Performance was also down on both tests from 1992, the first year that similar tests were used… But in 2015, only 37% were prepared for college” (Singer). For the standards to work the schools must not give up and if needed the standards need to be adjusted to help the students the best they can.
In conclusion, while there may be some flaws or concerns for the common core standards, there are mainly positive reviews. The Common Core standards help everyone involved; teachers, students, those with disabilities, etc. The standards also make it easier for the students and families who move around such as military families. School is a place to improve and the Common Core standards are setting students up for success. Teachers who are the most important to the learning process, have positive reviews about the Common Core and it has been shown that throughout the years the Common Core standards and learning become better. Finally, while the Common Core standards do have some changes and improvements to make, they are off in the right direction and the start is implementing them throughout the United States.
Fink, Jennifer L.W. “Students on Common Core.” Hot Chalk Education Network, Hot Chalk Inc., 16 Dec. 2014. Web. 18 April 2018.
Halladay, Juliet L and Lindsey Moses. “Using the Common Core Standards to Meet the Needs of Diverse Learners: Challenges and Opportunities.” New England Reading Association Journal, vol. 49, no. 1, Dec. 2013, pp. 33-44. EBSCOhost.
Matlock, Ki L. et al. “Teachers’ Views of the Common Core State Standards and Its Implementation.” Educational Review, vol. 68, no. 3, Aug. 2016, pp. 291-305. EBSCOhost.
McGraw, Taylor. “The Common Core Difference, from a Teacher’s Perspective.” The Hechinger Report, Eachers College at Columbia University, 10 July 2014. Web. 18 April 2018.
“Preparing America’s Students for Success.” Common Core State Standards Initiative, Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2018. Web. 17 April 2018.
Singer, Alan. “Results Are in: Common Core Fails Tests and Kids.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 3 May 2017. Web. 17 April 2018
Toppo, Greg. “Survey: Common Core Standards Working Well.” USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network, 2 Oct. 2014. Web. 17 April 2018.