As you may be well aware of, the state of public education in America paints a grim picture of our children’s futures in a global marketplace. Despite continual efforts by the federal government, school organizations, and of course, the blood, sweat, and tears of the many talented and dedicated teachers who instruct our youngsters day after day, our country is falling dangerously behind when it comes to academics. Need proof? The facts speak for themselves.
Shocking Statistics About America’s Broken Education System
According to Edu-Nova,
- The U.S. ranks 14th in reading amongst industrialized countries.
- Approximately 30% of high school students drop out without receiving a diploma.
- We spend twice as much per student on education as we did in 1971, yet reading and math skills are no better now than they were then.
- Two-thirds of high school Honor students struggle in college.
Are Common Core State Standards the Solution?
We all know that the problem exists, and many efforts have been made to solve it, the most recent of which is the Common Core State Standards. If you haven’t already heard, these new state standards are part of a state-led initiative to better prepare our students for college and the work force and to ensure that all students receive the same high-quality education, no matter where in the U.S. they live. The new standards build upon the existing state standards as well as international standards adopted by top-performing countries. The National Governor’s Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), coordinators of the initiative, hope that by adopting the standards, states can do a better job of preparing students for a future in a highly competitive world.
Not All States are On Board
The Common Core Standards are not mandatory, and though the vast majority of states have adopted them, there are a few that have yet to do so.
States That Have Yet to Adopt the Common Core Standards:
*Minnesota elected to adopt only the ELA standards, not the Math.
For now, these states will continue teaching toward their own individual set of state standards, for better or for worse.
Common Core ELA Standards
Unlike traditional state standards, the Common Core State Standards address only English Language Arts and Math, not all core subjects. The coordinators chose these two content areas because of their direct impact on learning across the curriculum. The ELA standards place special emphasis on the areas of reading, writing, speaking, listening, language, media, and technology.
Some of the key points the ELA standards address include:
Key Points in Reading
- The use of increasingly complex reading material from grade to grade
- Practice reading a variety of different types of text, not just fiction and traditional literature
- Mandatory exposure to certain “critical” texts including classic mythology, Shakespeare, and American literature and documents (i.e. The Declaration of Independence)
Key Points in Writing
- Instruction and practice in writing logical, support-based arguments, beginning in early grades
- Use of research-based writing, increasing in depth from grade to grade
- Exposure to sample texts demonstrating proficient writing in a variety of different genres
While the uniform nature of the Common Core Standards will no doubt level the field for students within the U.S., it’s yet to be seen whether or not this latest educational initiative will help our students compete on a global scale.