A Serious Slice About THE Standards SOL14 #19

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I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the common core lately. It has been in the news A LOT in our state. We have gone from adopting it guns blazing, to wanting to get rid of guns aimed and ready.
Our state has done away with PARCC and its testing( which I do believe is a good thing) and has now renamed the common core standards twice. We are now calling them “The Oklahoma Academic Standards” ie the common core.
I have heard such things as the common core doesn’t allow the teachers to teach the way they want to, to it is a conspiracy theory. Teachers and parents gripe that it is not developmentally appropriate, that it doesn’t allow children to learn, that we haven’t had time to prepare and that it’s too hard.
I really don’t know what the answer is. But I do know that Oklahoma has ALWAYS had standards for teachers. Before the common core we had PASS skills which were much like the common core. And I can remember when they were implemented and teachers were told they had to teach to the PASS skills; many were not happy.   
I like the common core. I believe it does give teachers freedom to teach how they believe their students can learn. If there are mandates being put on a teacher it is coming from the state or a district, not the common core. 
It does not state anywhere in the CC how a teacher must teach.
If parents believe it is too hard for their child I have to ask are you expecting enough of your child. Do you want your child to learn to think for themselves or do you want them to regurgitate information? To me the CC gives children the opportunity to learn, to think on their feet, and think for themselves. I understand that is scary for many parents and teachers alike.   
Finally I believe the bad aspect of CC or any education reform is the big business and politics that attach themselves to it hoping to gain a buck. That is what has happened here. IF the schools, and teachers could just find a common ground to implement the common core without the all the politics and big business of he said she said I believe they would find the standards are just that standards, and all in all they are good.
I wrote this post yesterday but didn’t complete it Today I found an article on Facebook from Karen Jackson about the CCSS you can find it here:  http://www.reading.org/reading-today/classroom/post/engage/2014/03/18/does-common-core-stifle-creativity-#.UympuvldVBG
I think she sums it all up with this statement “Even the best-written standards can be meaningless if they are implemented with ineffective instruction and lack of understanding on the part of the educator. Standards are just that, standards. It is up to us, the teachers, to decide how we present this information so that our students learn and meet the expectations placed upon them.”
She mentions that many Kindergarten teachers feel they are too rigorous, too hard, not developmentally appropriate for that age, or that they stifle a teacher’s creativity.
We are a public, Title One school with 60 plus percent free and reduced lunch rate. And yet our Kindergarten teachers informed us the other day that they have already met all the standard this year for kindergarten This leaves them time to reinforce, move on to the first grade standards for those that are ready, review and revisit, and add in things that they want to teach. How can that be bad for teacher or child?
I’m glad I found Jackson’s article, I agree that standards are standards it’s the “how” of our teaching that makes the difference.     


  1. It is definitely the "how" that makes the difference. There will always be some kind of standards in teaching. The name changes depending on what is vogue at the present time. I don't even remember how many different sets of standards I have gone through in my teaching career.

  2. Very well put. My state is one of the states not adopting CCSS, but we still have some issues. I totally agree with your statement about businesses and politics attaching themselves to education. There lies the problem. You have a great attitude about the big picture! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this touchy subject!

  3. Way to go! It has always been about good teaching and CCSS is still about good teaching. Missouri is using the term, "Missouri Learning Standards". I remember when the public strongly reacted to "Outcomes Based". Enjoyed your post.

  4. It's always about the "how" Tammy. Good for you for explaining some of the dilemmas in this. There certainly is lots of talk on both sides!

  5. I love the Common Core. I think it allows us to teach deeper and teach our students how to think. The thing I heard the most in OK was that the Common Core is dumbed down and if anything I see the opposite, I see the CCSE expecting teachers to ask students to dig a little deeper and think more. In my current state of residence I hear that the standards tell teachers to teach students literature that is not appropriate although I still don't see them telling us what material to teach. I think the standards are just the standards and how you get there is still up to the teacher, creatively, or otherwise. Well written piece.