Common Core State Standards
As a child, did you ever relocate to a different school? How did it feel to start somewhere new? Did you feel lost in your new classroom or fall behind in your schoolwork? If you did, you are not alone. Every year in the United States, millions of school-age children move and change schools. According to the Government Accountability Office, 13% of all kindergarten through eighth grade students transfer four times or more. These students are disproportionately poor, and moving disrupts their education unnecessarily. We need to give every child a consistent education from school to school so they can succeed.
That is one of many reasons why Third Way supports the Common Core State Standards.
The standards have received much media attention of late, fueling a debate and, at times, spreading misinformation. Recent polling has also added to the confusion. For example, in one poll, participants were asked, “Do you favor or oppose having the teachers in your community use the Common Core State Standards to guide what they teach?” Sixty percent of respondents said they opposed it. In another poll, participants were asked whether they supported or opposed “standards for reading and math that are the same across the states.” A whopping 68% of those participants answered that they strongly or somewhat supported such standards.
What does this tell us? The majority of the public supports the notion that we should have common educational goals across states. At the same time, the phrase “Common Core” has become associated with something negative that has little to do with the standards themselves. In truth, much of the opposition to the Common Core may be rooted in semantics.
Often times, they are referred to as “national” or “federal” standards when, in fact, they were developed from the best of existing state standards, by the very state educational leaders who are now putting them into practice. When the standards are discussed accurately—as voluntary, collaborative educational standards, not a mandated curriculum—support swells.
Right now, 76% of students in the United States are benefiting from the Common Core and will continue to do so beyond this school year.
We’d all be better served by moving beyond the frenzy and focusing on the facts: the Common Core State Standards are here to stay, and they will improve our schools for all students–especially the ones who are most vulnerable.