By Caleb Moore
Newsflash-it isn’t 2010 anymore, and that means that it is no longer fashionable to hate Common Core! It is for good reason as well. Common Core is a new method of education in which a multitude of education experts have created standards in regards to education in K-12 schools. The new standards focused on deeper understanding of mathematical concepts and literacy. Common Core has proven to be a wild success in states that have implemented it all over the country. Criticism for Common Core have proven to be incorrect and what legitimate criticism existed has more than been resolved through time.
Some common criticisms for the new method of education are that Common Core somehow impedes on state’s rights, as well as an unhealthy fixation on how Common Core curriculum teaches math and how it “looks weird” to people who were taught math before Common Core was accepted.
This criticism falls very short from legitimate. The notion that education is a responsibility that expressly belongs to the states is naïve. Many believe that there isn’t a universal way to teach students, and there aren’t universal things that students must learn. The first response to this is that every single student should have the opportunity to be literate. Every single student should be exposed to the same mathematical and scientific methods. Every single student should learn history and social studies. The only way to ensure that each student gets exposure to these principles is to have federal oversight on curriculum. The second response is that it is that exact lack of universality in the way students learn that makes Common Core great. No Child Left Behind was stricter on how exactly teachers were to teach their class. Common Core allows teachers to have flexibility with their curriculum so they can tailor it to their students.
The answer to the math criticism is slightly more technical. Yes, Common Core mathematics looks very different. There are a lot of steps that were previously not taught. However, the reason that this is so important is that Common Core focuses more on understanding why specific mathematic principles work. The idea behind this is that if you really understand the theories behind addition, subtraction makes more sense. If you really understand multiplication, division makes more sense. It becomes easier for teachers to build on mathematical principles.
The success of Common Core also speaks for itself. Look no further than Massachusetts, one of the first states to adopt common core standards. Massachusetts, if it were a country, would rank fourth in the world in literature, seventh in science, and tenth in mathematics. This is all a direct result of the switch to Common Core made by Massachusetts.
The underlying issue with Education reform is that you need to give it time. Kids and teachers need time to make the transition. That means that it is important to look at the long term success of specific school systems that have made the switch to Common Core, and the long term success speaks for itself.