Common Core

I believe Common Core was demonized before people really understood the difference between the concept and the separate testing imposed. The intention was to ensure a level playing field for all kids. Really all Common Core did was implement a common set of standards across the United States in math and language arts. Standards that have always been in place, they’ve just varied from state to state.  Common Core was a non-partisan, collaborative effort by state governors, education leaders, teachers, and parents with an interest in education policy.
The standards were developed mainly by teachers from across the US. The idea behind it is that every child regardless of zip code would have a basic understanding of the given standards at each grade level. In our evermore transient society, it’s a no-brainer. The video below explains it better and faster than I ever could.
Some things Common Core did and didn’t do- It did encourage stagnant and tenured teachers to update their curriculum. It didn’t mandate that teachers teach anything differently or change their teaching style. A teacher can still teach multiplication the same way s/he always did. Also, it does allow for adjustments to the standards. Ohio is making minor adjustments based on feedback from the classroom.
Please don’t let the images of bizarre testing questions and stories of “Common Core homework” or “Common Core Tests” confuse you. There are no such things. The various state testing tools are not mandated by the Common Core initiative. They are a separate, state implemented exam that vary from state to state. They are each states gauge to determine if the standards have been met. Ohio used PARCC and AIR.  It’s testing we’ve always done. The problem is/was that people confused the Common Core basis for the test as it being a “Common Core test” and the entire concept was bastardized from there.
I still believe that Common Core is a good thing. There is nothing wrong with raising the bar. There is nothing wrong with having reasonable expectations of age appropriate benchmarks. I appreciate the concept of allowing a second grader  from Mississippi the ability to enter a Cuyahoga Falls classroom and know that s/he possesses the skills to make a seamless transition.