Common Core State Standards

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.

REFERENCES

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

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About caitlineichlin

History major at California State University San Marcos and aspiring high school history teacher.
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3 Responses to Common Core State Standards

  1. Faith Waters says:

    Hello Caitlin,
    You made some very good points about common core that I have not thought of. The fact that it seems to prepare students more for future jobs than fundamental facts regarding humanity in general can be a bit worrying. However, why can’t we add that into our lessons regarding common core? Common Core does seem like a good idea because it is trying to level out the playing field for student’s future jobs, but I feel like it needs to be taught right to be a more effective way of teaching than we have now. If we can add how to be more humanitarian and focus less on strictly preparing them for future careers, it may be a more balanced way of teaching. One elementary class I witnessed is trying to do common core and to be honest, it does seem a little rocky. However, like I said, I believe if common core is incorporated into our classrooms correctly, it can be beneficial to the students more than it is now. Especially since it is just starting, it thankfully has room to grow and improve, hopefully it will be soon.

    Faith Waters

  2. I agree that adding in the humanitarian aspects that I am missing would greatly help! I know common core is new so I think that over time it will develop into a successful program. I do like the idea of leveling the playing field and creating a unified system like you discussed in your blog post! Everything is rocky at first, but we just have to be patient and work all the kinks out!

  3. mgbruno55 says:

    Very interesting post miss Eichlin, I particularly like the part of your post discussing the potential shortcomings of the CCSS. While it may not be at the forefront of everyone’s agenda I personally believe that the human development of students as human beings is equally important to their academic development. I had several teachers who I can honestly say played a major role in my personal development as a human being and I think that is one of the most important aspect of being an educator of young people. So while teaching the CCSS it may fall to the individual instructors to integrate the Common core lessons and lessons regarding citizenship and different social issues. I don’t think It has to be spelled out in the lesson plan necessarily but the responsibility of teaching these larger social issues and life lessons should be considered important and taken seriously.

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