Common Core Standards: A Cookie Cutter Catastrophe

I hate to be a Negative Nancy, but as a nation, are we really making the right choice for our children by implementing a one-size-fits-all educational outlook? Although we are only five more states away from full implementation, and the impact of the Common Core Standards on education won’t be apparent for a few more years, I’m not fully convinced that the effects will be entirely beneficial.

Pros

  1. The Common Core Standards are internationally bench-marked, which means the US’s take on public education is finally catching up to the standards of other countries. Implementing internationally bench-marked standards is a good sign that our educational rankings as a nation may improve in the long run (fingers crossed).
  2. The implementation of the Common Core Standards will result in states saving money on standardized test preparation, scoring, and reporting. Standards and tests will become uniform across the nation (as opposed to the use of unique tests in each state), allowing for an easier comparison of test scores among various states, and a decrease of individual state costs for test development. This will also benefit students of families who move from state to state, making their transition into new schools a lot easier.
  3. The Common Core Standards will better prepare students for higher education and global success. They will increase rigor in the classroom with the goal of developing higher level thinking skills in students, and ultimately preparing them for life in the real world.

Cons

  1. Over the last few decades, the US has experienced a significant drop in educational rankings compared to other countries, so the transition to more difficult standards is going to be an uphill battle for our teachers and students who have to adjust to new ways of instruction and learning. The change will not result in instant gratification, and may even cause some educators or administrators to seek other career options due to burnout.
  2. The Common Core Standards will lead to an increased emphasis on standardized test performance, an already controversial issue in the States. High stakes testing will cause increasingly competitive performance expectations among states. Teachers will teach for the test more so than ever, and this will not even guarantee improvement in testing on a global scale.
  3. With increased rigor, younger students will be expected to learn more rigid content a lot quicker and a lot sooner in their education. And while some states will be upping the ante while raising their standards, others that have already adopted more difficult standards in the past will have to come back down to a lower level.

There is still no clear support for students with special needs, as there is no modified test created for the Common Core Standards. In addition, the cost of updating technology needed for online assessments is a scary thing to think about, and I’m not sure that allowing the federal government to make these rash decisions for our population is in the best interest of future generations of scholars. All we can do for now is hold our breath and hope for a positive outcome.

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