New America Media, News Report, Anna Challet
California schools are getting close to fully implementing Common Core, and with it new standardized tests, more rigorous expectations for classrooms, and over $1 billion in state funding for school districts.
But polls show nearly three in four Californians are still wondering – what is the Common Core?
“We’re shifting to a new set of standards,” explains Arun Ramanathan, executive director of Education Trust-West, an Oakland-based education research and advocacy organization. “The standards themselves will demand more of our students, and in many ways more of our teachers.”
Adopted by California in 2010, the Common Core is a new set of education guidelines that are meant to make curriculum standards for math and language arts consistent across all states nationwide, and to align those standards with higher expectations for student learning. So far, 45 states have signed on to the initiative.
The standards are national, but were not developed by the federal government. They were created by a team of education experts, including those knowledgeable in other countries’ education systems, that were brought together by the National Governors’ Association.
“They were really looking to see what’s the standard we need to achieve,” says Ramanathan.
The new standards emphasize critical thinking and deep understanding of key ideas, skills students will be required to demonstrate verbally and in writing, both in class and in standardized tests.
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