A very subtle shift is happening in my hometown. Interestingly, a small group of parents have organized and convened a meeting they called “Repeal Common Core: Reclaiming Local Control in Education.” About 20 parents and some educators attended the meeting.
The Common Core State Standards are national educational standards that have been adopted by 45 states. They were constructed as part of a nationwide initiative to improve and equalize US education, so that students achieve as well as other high-scoring nations around the world.
From what I understand about the controversy, the main issues of my hometown group are:
- Everyone is in agreement that there should be high standards.
- They feel that Common Core is too focused on benchmarks and standardized testing.
- These parents feel that constant testing is stressful on students and teachers, and doesn’t address the needs of gifted or special-needs students.
- They also feel that since tax money is paying for this, local districts should have had input.
The group feels that the best thing to do now is ask questions and learn more about Common Core at the local level. It then hopes to organize a petition drive. They envision that their small steps now might grow into a grassroots movement that could modify, or even repeal, Common Core State Standards.
As an educator, I like the equity and rigor of Common Core. In my opinion, higher expectations for students are a very good thing. They better prepare students for college and the workplace. I do understand the group’s concern that there seems to be lot of testing. Yet for lesson planning purposes it is important to access what students have learned, and construct new lessons, moving forward, from that point. We have to think of the Common Core standards as a solid foundation, where students are challenged, yet supported while achieving more.
Is anything like this happening in your area? What do you think?