Many of the states in the US have adopted the educational plan of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) which are aimed at preparing students for their future careers. ISTE’s chief marketing operator Deborah Mersino claims that the Common Core State Standards develop important 21st century skills like problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration. Along with the use of new technologies, it is the hope of CCSS supporters that students will learn how to successfully navigate their adult life and encourage them to become life long learners. With focuses on math, English, and science the CCSS creates educational equality nationwide and helps to level the playing field for graduates across the country. STEM coordinator for the PAST foundation, Brian Coffey believes that the CCSS “goes past the the traditional pedagogy that has promoted almost exclusively remote memorization of textbook-based learning to an applied, exploratory, and student-engaged educational mindset” (Coffey, Nov 2013). With the transformation and implementation of technology, Coffey and many others believe that it is important to have tools and standards like the CCSS that realistically reflect progress. Coffey states that “the CCSS give us the power to turn schools into laboratories of innovators, curiosity seekers, and robust thinkers” (Coffey, Nov 2013). But do all educators agree with the strong opinions of CCSS supporters like Coffey and Mersino?
While every story has two sides, the CCSS has its nay-sayers. Former educator and current strategic planner and technological innovator Steve Taffee believes that the CCSS are the wrong way for our educational system to go. Taffee makes a valid point by claiming that the CCSS are focused on preparing our students for careers while leaving out more fundamental questions regarding humanity like citizenry, global warming, poverty, world hunger, combating life-threatening diseases, decreasing child mortality, and promoting gender equality. Taffee states that “an emphasis on preparing students for the world of work neglects a larger world of adulthood, and that as a result, too many people end up in unfulfilling jobs, perpetuating, an uncritical view of capitalism that serves the needs of business and industry over those of learners” (Taffee, Nov 2013). Taffee has a point, and one that should cause some concern to future educators.
While i think that having a core standard for all states is a good idea, the thoughts of Steve Taffee do cause me some unrest when i think about my future students. I want to create not only creative innovators and intellectual questioners, but good citizens and caring members of the world. As a history teacher, we teach past mistakes of others in hope that our students can learn from their mistakes to create a better world for tomorrow. Things like hunger and poverty lead to uprisings and revolutions. That being said, as a history teacher who teaches about these things, i believe it is my responsibility to teach my students how to help in current poverty stricken places. We are not only citizens of the US, but members of a global world that requires action. Therefore, while I obviously plan to teach the CCSS, I also plan on preparing my students to be good global citizens who are hopefully encouraged to be life long learners and responsible adults. I want my students to care about the world and find careers that are meaningful. I plan to include current day events in my lessons about the past with the hopes that my students inherit my passion and develop a sense of action.
Coffey, B. & Taffee, S. (Nov 2013). Can the common core prepare students for future careers? in Learning and Leading with Technology. [online]. Retrieved from http://www.learningandleading-digital.com/learning_leading/november_2013?pg=8&search_term=what%20are%20common%20core%20standard&doc_id=-1&search_term=what%20are%20common%20core%20standard#pg8
Mersino, D. (Aug 2013). ISTE releases position statement on common core in Learning and Leading with Technology. [online]. Retrieved from http://www.learningandleading-digital.com/learning_leading/201308?pg=10&search_term=common%20core%20standard&doc_id=-1&search_term=common%20core%20standard#pg10