Sunday, November 4, 2012

Common Core Standards by Todney Harris

American education in the twenty first century has been affected by poverty, low student performance, an ever changing parental structure and most importantly, federal legislation and enforcement for educators and students.  During the last fifteen years or so, technology has taken an important role in the manner in which students are learning and performance related outcomes.  Internet and social media have led to globalization within the field of education.  Through the use of hardware and software, students can not only learn differently but can remain in contact with educators once the traditional classroom hours have expired. In addition, educators can have additional means to stay in contact with parents through technology.  Software Programs have been created to track student performance that parents can monitor through the use of software programs in the Internet.  In order to make use of this technology, the means through which students are learning and performing have been addressed through the creation of new Common Core standards which many states have begun to implement.  Therefore, curriculums must be completely rewritten in order to meet the requirements of the new Common Core Standards.

So, what is Common Core?  The standards were developed by David Coleman and Susan Pimentel two lead authors of the new standards.  The standards involve all grade levels and many educators, parents, and education experts have all contributed to the creation of the standards. The purpose for the creation of the CSS is to standardize the means through which all students are learning in addition to performance related outcomes via projects and or examinations.  The primary purpose is to educate students in preparation for global competition.  Again, technology has transformed the manner in which business is conducted.  In order to be competitive, students must be given the tools necessary to compete in a global economy.  Therefore, the CSS standards give educators a standardized means of teaching with clear expectations and give the students clear expectations for learning as well.

Thus far, the state of Connecticut has adopted the new CSS standards as of July 7, 2010.  The curriculums are being written in response to the new standards.  Language Arts, Mathematics and Social Studies content areas have been revamped to meet the needs of the new CSS standards.  Technology has an important role in standard implementation.  How?  Students are given the opportunity to use digital media, software programs and Internet to apply the research based skills that are a requirement in the CSS standards.  For example, within the content area of Social Studies, as students explore and master content, they must improve their ability to locate and interpret information and their ability to share that information through reading, writing, listening, speaking, viewing and presenting. Social studies information comes in a variety of formats, from text to picture to graph, from newspaper to blog to geographic information system. Some of these formats may challenge students, but they need to experience all these media to build the analytical and evaluative skills of effective citizens.

As a Social Studies educator, it is my humble opinion that the CSS standards will benefit students.  It is apparent that these new standards if given the proper support via state departments of education,  can be beneficial for all parties.  I look forward to working with the students based on these new standards which will supplant the NCLB testing requirements in the near future.  Performance related outcomes based on student interest and involvement will help with motivation for learning in addition to performance related outcomes.  If students are given choices, then it is my humble opinion that student achievement will increase exponentially.

Todney Harris.



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