What is Common Core?

By: Allie Bailey

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The Issue

Common Core is a set of standards in mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy that are implemented state-wide in order to better prepare students for College and life thereafter. According to Mike Ward, director of educational services, "they represent a set of learning targets for students that are more rigorous than the standards that we previously used." These new learning standards incorporate real-world situations so students can learn important skills to utilize in the workplace and in college. However, these standards are set on a state level rather than a school district level. This takes away local control from the schools. Schools now have to show student achievement using the PARCC (Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) assessments. These are lengthy, involve technology, and are unfamiliar. People cannot have confidence in these assessments like previous ones because the results and test themselves are unknown. According to Mike Ward, "The PARCC assessment that Illinois uses will be a huge departure from the old ISAT and PSAE assessments."

To learn more about the PARRC assessment and Common Core Standards in Illinois click here.

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Three-Minute Video Explaining the Common Core State Standards

Why Is It an Issue?

These Common Core Standards are an issue because they are changing what kids, teachers, parents, and school administrators are used to in a short amount of time. According to Mr. Canny, "There was not enough time or resources allocated for many schools to properly implement CCS." What teachers teach is changing, they will have to completely redo their curriculum plans, and some may have to leave old commonplace methods of teaching behind and learn new ones. Students will be pressured too with many assessments and standards that they will have to live up to. The school administrators will have to continue to make sure the implement goes smoothly with each classroom and grade level all the while making sure they follow the standards set by the state. There will be a national level of what students will know before they graduate with little room to change the curriculum in each school district. Like Mr. Canny, many people believe that this was too much too soon and that school districts should get more leeway on these standards.