Everything You Need to Know About Common Core by Sana Chaudhry

Many of today’s high school graduates aren’t ready for college or the workforce. According to a college placement test taken by students in the 2010-2011 school year, more than half of high school graduates required remedial education to enroll into college classes.

 After many years of planning, many public schools will become a part of a national standardized test, which is going to be used to bring in an education initiative. But what does this mean for you?

Below is everything you may need to know about Common Core State Standards.

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are a set of standards that have been adopted by the State of Florida and will affect the 2014-2015 school year. The CCSS have been created to ensure that teachers, students, and parents alike are aware and understand the expectations students must meet in reading and mathematics from kindergarten through 12th grade.

These standards hope to help students by helping them better use critical thinking and analytical skills which in turn will make students-once they graduate- competitive within this rapidly changing job market.

“Every American child should have access to clear, consistent K-12 academic standards—with Common Core, they can,” said the Florida’s Parent Teacher Association in response to questions about CCSS.

The start of Common Core signifies the start of a high-stakes testing era. The standards are accompanied by new standardized tests and thus far, they haven’t had a kind reception. The first Common Core tests were unveiled in Kentucky and New York last year before the official curriculum was created. These tests were difficult for many students and as a result, there was a furious backlash from the public.

Diane Ravitch, an education historian against the corporate-influenced school reform says, “There is something about the Common Core standards and testing, about their demand for uniformity and standardization, that reeks of early twentieth century factory-line thinking. There is something about them that feels obsolete.”

The Common Core is becoming a way to punish students and teachers alike. With the CCSS, states would begin to require teacher evaluations. Teachers whose students failed to perform well or improve greatly would be at risk of losing their jobs because of a student’s tests scores.

Those who are Pro-Common Core argue that although many administrators and teachers will be presented with an enormous challenge because of the Common Core Standards, many students will be benefitting from them. The CCSS will better prepare students for life after high school. Students will possess a higher level of thinking and writing skills, amongst other skills. This doesn’t necessarily mean students will easily transition into the change.

CCSS will require time outside of school and a focused approach in school for students to reap the full benefits. Students who will enter middle school in 2014 will have a difficult time adjusting to the CCSS compared to those entering Pre-K. As a result, many students will be left behind because teachers have the pressure to ensure most students pass. This is going to be a difficult transition for teachers and students, but in the long run, the dedication to academics will pay off.

Since many high-paying jobs require postsecondary education, Florida students need a strong academic base to help prepare them for success in the future. Florida lags in helping students reach their full potential with a high school graduation rate 9% less than average and a college graduation rate 32% behind the highest performing state. Florida’s educators have decided to provide a new path for teachers, which would require a more rigorous curriculum and raise the bar for students.

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