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Arizona State Standards

Standards

Standards were first adopted in the 1980's. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) were among the first to adopt standards created by content specialists. During the 1990's education once again underwent a reform of standards. At the turn of the century, more changes came as districts changed how their students were going to be tested. In 2013, Arizona adopted the Common Core State Standards which have now become the College Career Readiness Standards. When the newest Superintendent of Public Instruction, Diane Douglas, took over she abolished Arizona following the Common Core State Standards. However, until a different program is put into place districts are following them as they have already spent millions of dollars with the CCSS implementation. Additionally, Arizona replaced its AIMS (Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards) standardized test with the AZ Merit test which is mean to align with the CCSS.

Challenges

With having new standards, come new challenges that must be addressed to the best benefit of the students.


  1. Federal Government- with programs such as Race to the Top and College Career Readiness standards, the federal government has become involved with the states decisions of which set of standards to adopt.
  2. Unknown Policy Consequences- one of the biggest challenges has been the students who are affected when standards have changed during their high school career which in turn has changed their graduation requirements. Perhaps the best way to introduce new standards would be with a new kindergarten class rather than change standards for students who have been invested in another set of standards. Those students should be grandfathered in.
  3. Cost-the cost come in the form of time, money and effort. Our teachers are spending hours and hours of their own personal time searching for resources that align to the new standards. Districts do not have the money to roll out a new set of standards with aligned resources which is leaving teachers disgruntled and frustrated. They are spending their own time and money searching out examples, handouts, hands on activities that align to Common Core.
  4. May not improve student achievement- students are not used to the rigor of the new standards. They have not been taught how to think, process and answer the new standards yet they are being held accountable through more rigorous testing and continuous, on-going assessments that are taking away teacher creativity and time that is best spent teaching students instead of assessing them.

How to teach critical thinking at home

Let's face facts-we lead busy lives. Work, soccer practice, household chores, cooking dinner and trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. So, how do we help our students become critical thinkers at home? Try following a few of these tips the next time your student brings up a question or problem.


1. Be Clear- oftentimes students blurt the story out without thinking and leaving out critical pieces of information. Invite your child for an explanation and/or an example. "Why do you suppose that happened?" Instead of giving your child the answer straight away ask them "what do you want done?" or "what do you think should happen?" "do you think the consequence was fair? why? why not?" By not allowing your child to just reply with yes or no answers will drive them to think about the problem and the solution. Share with your child examples from your life when you have a problem such as a situation at work and how would they solve it. If your child is upset and unable to be clear, have them take a few deep breaths, get a drink of water and even a quick hug will allow them to proceed calmly.


2. Be Fair- depending on the age of your child it is important to show fairness especially if there is more than one child at home. If fairness is not employed then one child will feel that one or more of their siblings are the parents favorite and will not want to process when real problems arise. If your child is young then be fair in what you are asking of them. A five year old isn't going to make the perfect bed but they can put away their toys in the bin and pick up their clothes and put them in the hamper. Older students can help set and clear the table or even load and unload the dishwasher. Teenagers should be taught how to run a dishwasher, washer and dryer so as they become more independent they can take care of themselves.


3. Be Relevant-when talking to your child about a situation or their school work make sure that you stay on track. Turn the cell phone upside down, lower the volume on the tv and pay attention to what they are talking about. This is not the time to ask what they want in their lunchbox the next day. It is the time to ask how their day went, what they learned in school in each subject and even how they are doing with their friends. Don't just ask "how was school today?" Most children are going to answer "fine", "ok" or shrug their shoulders. Ask them what they learned in math class and if possible, talk about how you use that concept in real life such as measurement is used in cooking.


4. Engage your child-at dinnertime turn off the tv and leave the cell phones on the counter on mute. Discuss issues that come up naturally in everyday life. Discuss what to do over the weekend. If the family wants to go separate places, encourage each child to pitch their idea to the rest of the family. Maybe even have your child look up how much the cost of the activity is then compare the budget to the activity. If discussing newsworthy items, ask your child if they agree or disagree and why. Have discussions with your children (if age appropriate) why Sea World should stop their orca breeding program, should we explore outer space, if they could visit any planet which one would they visit and why, and if they could be president what would they do to impact kids their own age.


5. Use Real Life Situations- if you are having a problem perhaps a closet needs to be rearranged or your child's bedroom is chaos, invite them to come up with a solution. Have them give you input even if it is the same as yours. Your child will then take ownership of the solution and may be willing to come up with other solutions more often. If they are banging their knee every time they get up then the furniture needs to be moved or even thinned out of the room. Perhaps there is too much in their room. If the tv cannot be seen by everyone then your child won't watch so invite them to come up with a solution. It doesn't matter if it doesn't work-allow them to move the furniture and solve the problem on their own. They may have a gift of spatial reasoning and the solution may help the entire family watch tv together without fighting because everyone can see.

References


Arizona PBS (Yea2012, September 11). Arizona Common Core Education Standards [Video file]. Retrieved from YouTube website: http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSWU8PznwgQ



Campbell, K. (2013). Excelined. Retrieved from http://www.excelined.org/2013/06/03/common-core-fact-of-the-day-standards-v-curriculum/


Common Core State Standards Initiative. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.corestandards.org/about-the-standards/frequently-asked-questions/


National Council of State Legislators. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.ncsl.org/research/education/common-core-state-standards-promises-vs-challenges.aspx


November Learning. (2016). Retrieved from http://novemberlearning.com/educational-resources-for-educators/understanding-common-core-state-standards/


The Glossary of Education Reform. (2014). Retrieved from http://edglossary.org/learning-standards/


Wiles, J. W., & Bondi, J. C. (2014). Curriculum Development: A Guide to Ractice (9th ed.). : Pearson.

Arizona Common Core Education Standards