SchoolFamily Voices

Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.

Are All Parents Happy With Common Core?

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?

> Coming Soon to Your School: Common Core State Standards

> Common Core on SchoolFamily.com blog

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