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Tuesday, February 19 , 2019, 4:29 pm | Fair 55º


Rae Largura: After a Year of Homogenizing Learning, Where does California Stand on Common Core?

Common core has been implemented for five years already, however it was only last school year that all of the Santa Barbara and Goleta school districts committed to the reform. So, how is it doing, how are we doing one year later?

The common core standards were created to change the nation’s education system by raising academic performance and improving our competitiveness globally.  

It clearly has accomplished its first objective of revolutionizing the education system, however, change can be slow, and in this case, it has resulted in both controversy and confusion.

You know it’s confusing when you have both sides of the political spectrum — the Koch brothers, Jeb Bush, Occupy Wall Street and teacher’s unions, all uniting to oppose common core.  

Liberals fear that the curriculum and standard evaluations will alienate students and teachers, while conservatives fear the “one size fits all” approach limits how teachers teach and stifles student learning.  

In between the political uproar are the parents and students who simply want to do their best at getting through the system and onto college, as well as teachers who simply want to do their best job of guiding children into success. 

Some pros from the implementation of common core include the following:

» Academic standards are showing a rise in competing with national and global education.

» A majority of teachers (68 percent) feel common core is working well.

» Testing is shifting away from rote learning and memorization towards more practical  skills like problem solving and writing skills.

» Social studies and science play a more prominent role in standardized testing.

» It is easier for students to maintain academic consistency if they move from state to state. 

Some cons from common core include the following:

» Teachers are struggling to be more creative with their lesson plans.

» Textbooks are becoming obsolete, putting more pressure on the teachers.

» The testing gives no concessions for students with special needs, resulting in confusing outcomes and results. 

» It has not eliminated all the nonsense testing. It has become more rigorous and confusing. 

» Concern that local input is lessened as there is more of a push toward a “federalized system” 

» Every school system must purchase upgraded technology and teaching materials, which has been a great burden on some districts. 

While Governors in 43 states have approved common core Standards since 2013, parents and teachers have been struggling to figure out what it means and how to implement it.  

It is clear that common core standards has had a major impact. What is unclear are the long term effects.

How these issues are worked out will determine the success or failure of this initiative. The bottom line is that change is slow moving (especially positive), and it is just too soon to accurately measure the impact — so judgment is pending. 

— Rae Largura is president of Leading Edge Tutors. For questions regarding common core, as well as tutoring inqueries for any class, any grade, email [email protected]. The opinions expressed are her own.

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