The sound that can be heard from any teaching or launching pad is from teachers in classrooms and the number of tests that are taken in one year. In the Pittsburgh City Schools, there will be hundreds of different tests and that includes PSSA and Keystone exams. Added to the mix are the new CommonCore Standards and a new sound is being heard from teachers, parents, students and corporations. Another issue involves teacher evaluation and accountability that will be utilized to monitor how the students are scoring on the tests, and if the teachers are capbable of administering them.
The Core Standards furnishes an understanding that assimilates the expectation of the students for success at each grade level. This includes math and English language arts and the concepts and understanding of the material, literacy skills and problem solving. The endeavor of the standards is for all the state curricula to be aligned with each other, which follows a new effort for education reform.
With the advent of any new program, there is a discussion if the Core Standards will work and that has many school boards and parents in a confused state. An issue of control by the government has caused havoc about assessment and management of the curriculum. Parents are concerned that the Core Standards prepare their children for a uniform standard, and the bottom line is a question of what standard and if the tests are being pushed on the students.
Another debate about the Core Standards concerns the instruction in the wealthier schools versus those in low socio-economic areas. With the budget cuts at schools and No Child Left Behind laws make implemetation of the tests a reason for public schools to fail. This battle between public and corporate domains reamins an issue and if its all about money, and not the students.
There is controversy on both sides of this dilemma, but it will take time to sort out the pros and cons of the Core Standards. Many questions and test cases will make up part of the solution, but the standards dictate any student must be aligned with the Core Standards, and that causes many parents to lose credence in education. Does this increase competition? If it does, will states decide that the standards aren't the right fit, or is it a perfect match in the global economy?