Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Drawbacks of the Common Core Standards

"Our schools will not improve if we continue to focus only on reading and mathematics while ignoring the other studies that are essential elements of a good education... Our schools will not improve if we value only what tests measure... Not everything that matters can be quantified." – Diane Ravitch

The Common Core Standards for curriculum were developed in collaboration with teachers, school administrators, and experts to provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare students for college or the workforce. These standards provide states with English and math standards to ensure that the nation is focused on common goals for all students. Consistent standards provide for appropriate benchmarks for all students no matter what state they live in.

Contrary to the positives that come with common care standards, there are also some drawbacks. The first is the haste in which states adopted these standards. Just two months after the final recommendations for national education were released, 27 states had already adopted the standards. Although this could seem to be a pro, states rushing into the use of these standards too quickly may not have enough funding to properly put them into effect. Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers said, “If states adopt these thoughtful new standards and don’t implement them, teachers won’t know how to meet them, yet they will be the basis on which kids are judged.”

The second drawback is that there are states that have equal to or better standards already. A study conducted by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute found that California and Indiana had standards that are actually better than the national standards. Also, another twelve states have standards that are equal. Now you may be thinking, “Then why would these states adopt the standards? Why wouldn’t they just keep their own?” Well, Obama is offering rewards and extra funding to the states that adopt these standards. It may end up that states simply adopt these standards for the extra funding and rewards they may receive. This is not as bad for the states that have equal standards except that the teachers would be forced to learn the new standards and curriculums when the old ones were just as good. This goes back to the previous con in which children will be judged on a system that teachers may not be proficient in.

The last drawback of the common standards is the formation of another standard assessment. The Common Core Standards brings another standardized assessment into the school system. The same drawbacks of other standardized assessments apply here. Many people worry about the “cookie cutter” questions that do not take into consideration the local or individual issues. The questions on the test may not apply to all states, cultures, individuals, etc. As with other standardized tests, the typical “how is it fair to ask a child who lives on a farm questions about hailing a cab or vice versa?” still applies to these new standards.

In conclusion, the Common Core Standards were designed with good intentions and do provide have some strengths. However, it is important for states and schools to consider the drawbacks of such standards. Are these standards really any different the ones we already have? Are our teachers prepared for this? Is a new standard test really any different than the old ones?

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