As an actively engaged parent in Kentucky, we have been learning about the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for a long time. Kentucky was the first to sign on to the CCSS, although we had to put our own stamp on it, so in Kentucky it is known as KCAS or the Kentucky Core Academic Standards. We are now awaiting results from our second round of state testing under the new standards.
While change is never really easy, the massive adjustments from Senate Bill 1 have gone really well in Kentucky. Parents are happy to hear about the more rigorous standards and the focus on College and Career Readiness. Teachers feel empowered to actually teach they way they feel best suits their kids, as long as they are able to get kids to the goal of understanding and executing the standards. Kids are actually seeing the relevance of teaching, because they know what the end goal is.
The smoothness of our transition made me really surprised to read about the national kickback on the Common Core State Standards. This mis-information which has been flying makes me think of the State Farm commercial where the girl believes everything she has heard on the internet. So, let me answer some of them I have seen recently:
No, this is not a federal government conspiracy. The standards came from a grassroots state initiative headed by the National Governor's Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. They engaged tons of stakeholders in the process, including teachers, business leaders, academic institutions, parents, and more. In our highly mobile society, this was and is about doing what is right for kids. What they are taught and expected to know in one state would be the same as another. Learn more at http://www.corestandards.org/
No, this is not about mediocrity. The standards were designed to compete on a global scale, not just compared to other US standards. The rigor is increased.
No, this is not a curriculum. The CCSS are only a set of standards which kids should know at each grade level. How they are taught is up to the individual teachers with guidance from the school councils and districts. There is actually MORE flexibility now than before.
Our state Commissioner of Education Dr. Holliday has put some good information about this transition in his blog at http://kyedcommissioner.blogspot.com/
Is the system perfect? No. Is everyone happy with change? No, they never are.
Parents, I encourage you to really learn more about the standards before you judge. There are great parent guides for each grade level at http://www.pta.org/parents/content.cfm?ItemNumber=2583&navItemNumber=3363 . PTA has been behind a common set of standards for more than 20 years.
My concern is that decision makers need to keep their eye on what is best for kids. What is best for our economy in the long run, which is a globally competitive workforce. Quit with the politics and put focus on funding education so we can make the most of this education reform movement. Everyone needs to row the boat in the same direction.