It has always baffled me that the federal government forced the states and school districts to administer individual state tests and to punish schools and school districts if students failed to reach a certain score on state tests after the passage of No Child Left Behind in 2002.
The strange part of all this was that individual states prepared and administered their own state tests. What assurance do we have that the tests taken by students in Nebraska are as demanding or less demanding as the tests given to New York students? And yet, the federal government required individual states to grade the schools despite the lack of consistency across the nation.
As expected, during all this period of increased accountability, some educators and too many politicians resented the movement to create common core state standards. Finally after years of discussion and debate, most of the states have bought into the Common Core State Standards Initiatives, "a state-led, highly collective, voluntary effort ...". To its credit, the New York State Board of Regents adopted the Common Core State Standards in English language arts and mathematics in January. The new state tests will be based on these standards, as well as new curriculum models in ELA and math.
After too many years of indecision, we're moving in the right direction-but not fast enough!
As a recent article in American Educator revealed, the countries that have moved forward and surpassed the U.S. in student achievement in recent years-Finland, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea-not only have common core standards, but also have a national common core curriculum, a key factor badly lacking in our country.
What are some of the benefits of a common core curriculum as highlighted in American Educator?
3 Teachers need not guess what will be on assessments; if they teach the curriculum, their students will be prepared.