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Why has common core become the most discussed topic in K-12 education?

An attempt to create national standards may one of the biggest overhauls in K-12 education

Starting at the Beginning

Most of us remember the days of standardized state exams. In Florida there was the FCAT, in Michigan there was the MEAP, and so on. Each state in the US had its own state standards that were created by the states. Based on what percent of kids passed the state exams, the states were given a rating of their overall education standards.

The problem that was recognized with this system was that the exams varied by state. There were no “core” standards that all states had to follow in order for their students to be ready for college once they finished the 12th grade. Common core wants to change this by creating a set of national standards that represent material that all students should know by a certain grade.

A Helpful Analogy

Think of Common Core as your supervisor or team member providing certain milestones on a project. You are given free reign over how to execute on these milestones, but you will be held accountable for performance. This is what the common core standards provide to the states. The states and districts are given freedom on how to implement these national standards.

Paving a Road

The intentions behind Common Core are inherently good. They are essentially math and reading standards that are meant to prepare younger and older students for college. However, little research has been done behind their long-term effects.

Initial tests show these new standards actually being ineffective in some states. Granted, it is still too early to tell. However, with all of the spending in training teachers, purchasing materials, creating new exams, among other things involved in overhauling an education system, one has to wonder if it is worth it? Or if this is a repeat and repackaging of the No Child Left Behind Act?