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Common Standards released: Did Montessori have a voice?

Were Montessori education methods overlooked when compiing the National Common Standards?
Were Montessori education methods overlooked when compiing the National Common Standards?
Trenton Schultz

On June 2, 2010, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practice and the Council of Chief State School Officer released the final set of state-led education standards, the Common Core State Standards. The goal of creating a set of Common State Standards was to define the knowledge and skills students should achieve during a K-12 education career, using research based evidence of the best educational models both in the United States and internationally. Prior, each state has set its' own standards which has led to inconsistencies between schools, districts and states.

Who was on the committee?

The year-long process was led by governors and chief state school officers with the final K-12 standards being approved by a committee of 30 classroom teachers, school administrators, university professors and assessment professionals. According to the credentials provided by the Core Standards initiative, no validation committee member, work group or feedback group member had expertise or experience in Montessori education. Click here to see who was on the committee.

Research based evidence for Montessori education

According to the Common Core Standards initiative, the Common Standards "are informed by the highest, most effective models from states across the country and countries around the world, and provide teachers and parents with a common understanding of what students are expected to learn".  Empirical research based evidence citing Montessori education as a best practice educational model has been documented both in the United States and internationally. Additionally, in 2008, Dr. Angeline Stoll Lillard definitively outlined the benefits of Montessori education in her book, Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius, yet Montessori continues to be left out of the national conversation on education reform.

Will these standards be adopted in Illinois?

In June 2009, Illinois signed a pledge to support the creation of the Common Core Standards, but is not required to adopt the final recommendation, however, the U.S. Department of Education's Race to the Top grant competition which is financed with economic stimulus money favors those states that adopt the standards. An August 2nd deadline requires a decision within the next couple of months. . It is interesting to note, that 6 of the 30 members of the validating committee refused to sign and certify the recommended standards. Click here to see which members signed in support of the Common Standards.

How can Montessori join the national conversation?

Many of the participants of the Common Core Standards validation committee, work groups and feedback groups are members of national educational organizations. In addition to membership in a Montessori organization, Montessori teachers and administrators need to consider belonging to other professional organizations and becoming involved in order to have a future voice in education reform.

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