By Cindy Long, NEA Sr. Writer/Editor
Common Core State Standards are K-12 English Language Arts/Literacy and Math standards that will create a clear, consistent level of knowledge for our public school students no matter where they live.
- They Will Deepen Problem-Solving Skills and Critical Thinking
The math standards will allow educators to focus on fewer topics and dive into them more deeply and rigorously, making sure kids grasp concepts fully so they can master them and apply them to real world problems. The English and literacy standards emphasize critical thinking, comprehension, analysis, and writing, and highlight the growing complexity of texts students must read to prepare for the demands of college and career.
- They Promote Greater Opportunity for All Kids
Research shows that in some pockets of the country, particularly low-income neighborhoods, students are placed in larger classes with watered-down curriculum and out-of-date learning materials. The result is too many kids graduating without the basic knowledge and skills required for college or the workplace. CCSS, properly implemented, ensures that all students, no matter where they live, will graduate prepared for college, careers, and citizenship.
- They Bring Back Flexibility and Creativity
Unlike the “drill and kill” test prep associated with NCLB, CCSS only provide the framework of what should be taught —teachers get to decide how they’ll teach them based on their expertise and judgment. Educators can find more creative, hands-on applications that are more engaging for everyone.
- They Call for Collaborative Decisions
The standards give us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to offer our children a world-class education in every state of the country, but we must be flexible in how they’re implemented, applied and assessed over time. We’re in a process of discovery — as we collect information– administrators, teachers, support staff, and parents must collaborate to ensure the best possible implementation occurs so students can reap the benefits of that collaboration.
- Implementation is the Key to Success
We must work together with parents and community members to demand a plan that makes sense to transition to the new standards and to ensure next generation assessment systems are fair and include multiple, appropriate and valid measures of student success.