There is so much debate going around the Common Core State Standards. So I thought I would just give a snapshot as to what these standards mean and what their intention of creating them is.
First off, these standards were initially created for Reading/Language Arts and Mathematics which were released June 2, 2010 in an effort to “provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them” succeed in life as they grow older (http://www.corestandards.org).
The Reading/Language Arts Standards are broken down into 6 main categories:
- Starting in Kindergarten, these standards start specifically with having the students focus on key details within text. Relating the illustrations in a book to the text. As well as starting to show differences and similarities between different books or characters.
- Students are progressed each year and must meet these standards in order to progress.
- In 11-12 grade the students must be able to cite their sources correctly. Determine themes and central ideas and analyze the development of them throughout the story. Students must use critical thinking skills to formulate their own opinion on why the author of a story wrote what they did. Students are expected to be able to analyze different interpretations of stories, dramas, and poems.
Reading: Informational Text
- Between their time in Kindergarten and 12th grade. Students will learn how to read and comprehend literary nonfiction (i.e. historical documents). They will analyze the authors argument and be able to analyze complex sets of ideas or sequences of events and explain how specific individuals, ideas, or events interact and develop over the course of the text.
Reading: Foundational Skills
- These standards only cover kindergarten to 5th grade. It starts from basic reading skills from which way to read (left to right), being able to rhyme, and understand syllables. It then progresses to fluency, comprehension, suffixes and prefixes. Then ending in 5th grade being able to break down unknown words by by prefixes, suffixes, and root words to understand what a word means.
- Starting in Kindergarten, students start with drawing to depict an opinion or idea. Moving up, building skills until 6th grade where the students learn how to organize evidence, support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence, and be able to correctly cite contextual evidence.
- Between 11-12 grade the students will need to be able to write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid and relevant and sufficient evidence. The students will need to be able to organize complex ideas, concepts, and information.
Speaking & Listening
- The students start off in Kindergarten from following rules of discussion such as speaking out of turn while confirming their understanding of a text read aloud or information presented orally or other media sources.
- In 11-12 grade the students will need to have the ability to formulate a distinct argument to persuade someone on a certain topic or just give factual information to a peer on a topic. They will need to be able to debate topics while giving factual evidence to their statements.
- In these standards it is the basics of being able to put together a sentence from where an upper or lowercase letter belongs, punctuation, understand where to use prepositions, understanding nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.
- When the students graduate students should be able to speak english fluently, spell correctly, understand multiple meaning words and phrases and understand figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
I know that that seems like a lot and complex. But if you actually look at the standards in detail, they progress over time to allow students to make those steps toward graduation.
I’m not going to go over the math standards as much in detail but I do urge you to look at them in detail.
I am huge supporter of these standards. I grew up in the U.S. Public Education system during the time of No Child Left Behind. And when I graduated from high school and started college at the University of Central, I did not feel prepared for what was expected of me in my classes. I had no true concept of how to write research papers. I didn’t know how to thoroughly take notes and I had no time management skills. I had to develop these skills myself.
Also, when i moved to Florida in 2003 from New Mexico I was two reading levels behind my peers because the standards were different between the states. Then when it came to the new Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) it was stressed so much that it was so important to me being able to move on to 7th grade that it created high anxiety for me as a young boy. I remember the day before the test I was so nervous about it that I was sweating, I was nauseous, and began throwing up in class and then eventually passed out. During the test I was given special accommodations, I was placed in my own room separate from my peers and I was given more time on my test. This made me feel bad about myself and that I was stupid or something.
These new standards will also allow students moving between different states to be on the same pace and not be behind or even ahead of the other students in their new classroom.
As for relating to the article attached. I, as well as the NEA President, do not believe that they are implementing these standards in the right way. I know in the state of Florida they have slowly introduced the standards each year by grade levels. However, there has not been enough training for teachers on these new standards. Teachers are having to scrap lessons and spend more time on rewriting them than teaching to the new standards. Also, people are expecting things to be perfect day one of anything new. Something new takes time for it to take full affect and have a true impact. Just give the standards time. Invest in Public education and our teachers.