What Does Common Core Mean?

Indiana is done with Common Core standards!  That is the news today.

So what does that mean?   What is all this noise about Common Core standards in education?  And how does any of this touch us?

I’m going to try to answer those questions as simplistically as possible.  First, common core standards have been discussed for at least a decade.  The general concept is that state governors decided to help craft a core of educational standards so that students from California had the same basic knowledge as students from Pennsylvania, or Texas, or Idaho.  So far so good, right?  But that is where the problems started because some people saw these standards as a way for states to create workers which is economically responsible from a Governor’s perspective, but not so great for children if they are being tracked and led into programs just because it was easier for states to create workers.

Let’s pretend for a minute.  Let’s say your children are bright and talented, but the only jobs in your state are telemarketing jobs.  Would your students be better served at the state level if they learned basic marketing techniques, or if they learned algebra?

I’ll give you a little time.

Educators were naturally of two minds when it came to questions like this.  A lot of them fought for teaching the child all the necessary steps that would lead someone to be a critical thinker and an avid learner.

It sounds good,  but  we’ve got to ask ourselves what does that really mean?

Local school boards and governments were asking questions like ” How come we are paying so much money without knowing we are effectively training our students to become fully functioning tax paying adults?”

That sounds okay, but what does that mean?

Unfortunately it means we need to start at the beginning, we need to throw out all of our preconceived notions about what children should learn and we need to try to help students learn to think critically rather than spout content.

A lot of folks say children need to learn the three R’s, reading, writing and arithmetic.  I think most teachers would agree.  But the truth is that there is much more expected from students than simply reading and writing and doing math.  And there is a whole lot more expected of successful countries made up of successful students who are also future wage earners.

Can you see why this is a big nut to crack?

For us, we should recognize that common core standards or not, education will continue.  Students will either need remediation classes in college, or they won’t.  Testing will continue to plague students and teachers.  Teachers may teach to tests to keep their jobs.  Your own children may come home with homework you don’t understand.  As a matter of fact, if you contact your child’s teacher they may  not understand why your child has been given that work.  The issues are we are talking about are much bigger than those of your struggling third or fourth grader and that is a shame.

Folks, we have a problem.  The problem will not be solved this school year, nor next, and it probably won’t be solved in the next 20 years.

For current school kids that is way too long.

So what do I suggest?

I suggest we understand the common core standards before we complain about them.  In light of that, I’ve dragged the common core standards in math here.  I’ll also connect my readers to the standards in English.

There are no other standards at this time.  These two subjects were considered to be enough to start with.

Boy that was a lot of work.








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