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Common Core Standards: Success or Failure

by Saeri Plagmann, Clarion Staff

Schools all over America currently face new math and English standards that were implemented by a group of educators representing many states. These standards, known as Common Core, have proven to be slightly more challenging than the previous standards. Although there are viable justifications for implementing Common CORE, many teachers and students struggle with the material and how it is presented.

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When the State educators came together in 2007, it was discussed that one of the most important values every student needs in order to graduate and be successful is the understanding of the concept of the real world. With this objective in mind and with the feedback from experienced teachers, experts, and the public, the Common Core standards were developed. Some states’ original State education standards also contained clear deficiencies. With all these considerations, Common Core was developed to prepare students for their future. “It makes you assess the information you have. It’s more than just getting an answer—its how you got to the answer,” explains Mr. Van Natten, principal of JFK.

Individual States were given the option to voluntarily adopt the standards. Currently, 42 states, D.C., and four U.S. territories have adopted the standards. California fully implemented the standards during the 2014-15 school year. Since then, both students and teachers have been slowly adjusting to the learning curve that Common Core presents. Mr. Lam, a math teacher at JFK, has been teaching for eleven years. This year is his first experience teaching math under the Common Core standards. He told The Clarion, “It’s not a bad thing, and the overall intentions are good. It’s too early in the process to see how things work out, but so far the results aren’t great. The main difference is the pacing; the pacing of what they want to accomplish in the curriculum doesn’t fit well.”

Students have also not fared well in their adjustments to the standards. Mia Santos, a junior, said, “Common Core claims to be more efficient in the learning process of students. It’s something so that everyone is on the same page at the same time across the country for whatever reason. But then it isolates the students that want to get ahead or don’t understand the course. I feel that this system is very restricted for the students learning, and its also hard on the teachers because they don’t always have the right answer or the right explanation or an explanation at all”.

There is no agreed upon answer as to whether it is a good thing or a bad thing. This new standard will continue to be a change for most students and their attitude towards it will often vary greatly but, “positives of the development of Common Core certainly outweigh the negatives,” concludes Mr. Van Natten.

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