We are happy to introduce you to Anna Maria Tabernik (TAB), one of our trainers, who has done some great work helping to plan Ohio's rollout of the Common Core State Standards. Here, she weighs in with some information for parents about the Core.
You look around your child's classroom or read their school report card and you see references to state standards. You may even see "I can" statements that put the standards in student friendly language. It's great when the teachers display these "I can" statements so you and your child can understand what is being taught in the classroom. This helps you and your child take responsibility for their learning, as well as supports the teacher's efforts in the classroom. It's all good — right?
Well, just when you've started feeling comfortable understanding the current state standards for English and mathematics, you're thrown a real curve ball! Your state has adopted the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English-language arts and Mathematics! Oh, no – now what? Why do we have to have new standards? What's wrong with the old ones?
This blog will cover "things you should know" (TYSK) as a parent to help you make sense of this new initiative. Up until now, each state designed subject area standards specifically for their students. The result is that students in different states are held accountable for different skills and knowledge. Students in one state might be expected to complete more complex math problems or read more difficult books than students in another state. The tests given to students in one state might be more difficult than those given in another state. As a result, students do not enter college or the work force with the same knowledge and skills.
The CCSS are designed to "level the playing field" for students across the United States. No matter where they live, under the CCSS students will be prepared to take their place in the 21st century.
TSYK about the CCSS:
- provide clear, focused, coherent and rigorous goals for student learning
- will help teachers determine the skills and knowledge their students should have, and help the teachers create lessons to engage students in this learning
- were developed by teachers, parents, administrators and experts from across the country
- have been formally adopted by 46 states
- are for only English-language arts and mathematics only since these two subjects form a foundation upon which students build skill sets in other subject areas
- are consistent across states so that a student's location does not change the standard of education they receive
What does all this mean for you? It means that:
- learning expectations and learning targets will be clear and specific
- it will be easier for you to partner with your child's teachers to promote learning
- you can be confident your child is learning skills to succeed in today's world
- your child will be better prepared for the 21st century and for living in a global economy
- your child will have equal opportunity to learn specific skills in line with the demands of college and careers
- your child will be given the tools they need to succeed in life
- your child will be able to compete with children from across the US and around the world
Schools are designing their implementation plans as we speak. You may see your district begin to implement the new standards for K-12 English-language arts and for grades K-2 mathematics this year.
Ask questions, seek out information, and be part of this initiative!
I am a parent and an educator so I wear both hats and can relate to the challenges we all face. My goal is to share TYSK as a parent during this exciting time of transition. I encourage you to share these TYSK with other parents and feel free to comment on this blog or ask specific questions.
PS - The National PTA has created a "Parents' Guide to Student Success" for parents with children in grades K-12. The guides are very informative and can be found at http://www.pta.org/4446.htm. Check them out.