Historically speaking, change is normally met with confusion. Because the Common Core Standards have only been implemented for a few years, many people still don’t fully grasp the effect that this reform has on our schools and (more importantly) on our students. Will universal benchmarks improve the general knowledge of the public, or is this simply an attempt to distract us from the real issue? Let’s take a look at some of the facts.
Pro: Common Core Standards create a level playing field.
Because this movement holds all states to the same benchmarks, it’s easier to see where we need to place the most energy. These standards are also based on international education reform, so it’s likely that their application would put the United States on target to compete with other nations around the world.
Con: The program puts states in a tough position.
Since the Common Core Standards are being supported by the federal government, they are where the financial backing is occurring. This means that if states choose to opt out of Common Core, they could lose necessary funding for their schools.
Pro: Common Core Standards cuts cost for those who do adopt them.
States are coming together to create nationally recognized exams, so they can share the costs associated with the process, such as test production, study programs, and grading the finished product.
Con: In some areas, this is quite an adjustment.
This nation has never had a shared set of expectations when it comes to education. So, it may be a rocky transition, particularly for the more seasoned teachers and administrators who are used to the ways of the past.
Pro: Common Core Standards give states room for disagreement.
This isn’t an all or nothing deal. When adopting the Common Core Standards, states are required to accept 85% of the standards, leaving the other 15% to be targeted toward the specific needs of the community.
Con: The Common Core Standards are actually pretty vague.
They are a set of skills to be mastered, rather than a collection of specific material to be taught. So, it’s difficult to know what the exams will look like. Teachers may not be able to properly prepare their students for success in this program.
Pro: The Common Core Standards promote higher level thinking.
These standards are challenging, but with a purpose. They push students to develop critical thinking skills in order to better prepare them for life after high school. The skills don’t change for each grade level; they are just deepened. This will allow students to continue to enhance their abilities as they move forward in their education.
Con: These standards don’t take into account the diverse student makeup.
The United States is composed of people from all walks of life, who have different skills to offer. The Common Core Standards are typically designed by the privileged districts who may not understand the needs of lower income areas.
Pro: The Common Core Standards are ideal for students who change schools.
Moving can be hard on students, especially when what they are being taught changes from one district to another. With Common Core, students in Tennessee should be learning the same things as students in Alaska, so it should be an easy transition to move between states.
Con: Common Core doesn’t cover all subject areas.
Right now, there are only standards developed for mathematics and English language arts. This means that the other key subject areas are being neglected but are still being tested at the end of the year.