Point: Is Common Core a justifiable standard for schools?

Hannah Hirsch, Contributing Writer

Although they have been met with huge opposition and criticism by some, the Common Core State Standards have been imposed to allow America the chance to catch up with other nations on the front of education.  By creating standards of excellence in both the areas of English language arts/literacy and mathematics, advocates of Common Core hope to create clear learning goals for students and educators.

The curriculum content consists of rigorous applications of skills and knowledge meant to prepare students for college and careers ahead of them.  Regardless of the the positive intentions of the CCSS, many still fail to agree with its content.  Some criticisms of the newly introduced system deal with the increasingly difficult material students are subjected to, even in the youngest grades, along with exposure to higher-stakes testing at these ages.  However, despite prevalent objection to the introduction of Common Core curriculum, the new standards move America’s educational system to further excellence.

Although there are overwhelming pros to the Common Core, it is important to highlight arguments against it, regardless of strength or validity.

One recurring theme of arguments disfavoring the newly implemented standards is the academic rigor expected of students.  This goes along with the idea of the difficulty of transitioning from one set of material to the next, as many students are not used to learning in the way the CCSS outlines it.  This can pose disadvantages on certain students who need to adjust to this new style of learning.  The higher-stakes learning at which students will be subjected further adds to the difficulty in transition, as this much has not been expected of them previously.

Furthermore, the students’ transition is coupled with the teachers’ need to adjust to a new style of teaching. The CCSS forces these teachers to both cover new and different material while conducting the classroom in a new manner.  This also puts more pressure on them, as they are critiqued based on students’ test scores.  Many teachers are not thrilled about being held accountable for their performance.

The argument that the rigor of of the new Common Core standards are too high is flawed.  The purpose of this new curriculum is to implement progressive education and allow America to become on the same page academically with other countries.  The standards are meant to become more meticulous by having students know the curriculum while also having an in-depth understanding of it.  The CCSS are supposed to prepare students for college, future careers, and even down the road, skills in life. This, of course, will need time for transition which many people, including teachers, are not happy with.  However, it is necessary for the nation to implement these new standards at some point.

“I have taken Common Core math for two years.  The regents exam was more difficult compared to the practice exams made before the new standards, but I was still prepared to take the Common Core based exam,” said sophomore Joe Clark.

One of the main aspects of the CCSS is for America to catch up with other nations.  So, the purpose of the standards are to reflect upon those of other countries.  In this way America can be adequately compared to these nations and improve our academic rankings among them.  This continuity between these standards also allows teachers to better track their students’ progress.  Furthermore, teachers can judge their own teaching for effectiveness and see where improvement is necessary.

Another reason for America to implement these new testing methods is because, in the long run, they save states money on education.  By unifying standards across the nation, resources and materials can easily be shared between states.  Also, teachers can better share strategies, lesson plans, and methods for teaching, and they will have continuity.  This also benefits the students as academic instruction will be improved.

“If the Common Core really does work in improving conditions for students all over the country, then it is definitely justified. I think that it’s important for everyone to have the opportunity to a good education,” said sophomore Maya Leong.

In essence, the addition of the Common Core State Standards is a symbol of progress in America’s educational system.

Now, we have the tools we need to unify our levels and standards of education all over the country.  America’s rankings in regard to other nations have more opportunity to rise and are easier compare to them.  The rigor of these standards is a challenging transition for some, but ultimately it would be necessary to implement these academic progressions.  We also are able to better track individual students’ progress as well as their teachers.  On top of the education benefits, this also saves states’ money on education, where it is already lacking.