This piece is fluff. I will be doing another shortly on the shortcomings. Obviously this was the easier piece and therefore, being a normal human being, I chose to do the laziest piece first. Yawn, it’s summer.
I really did not know what Common Core was when I was first told of it’s inception and that it would be used on our children. Like the names of each of the educational programs that have gone before, I assumed it had its benefits, its drawbacks, and a lot of stuff that was debatable in the middle, but I also assumed it would make little difference either way in the long run.
I was wrong. It actually employed many of the planks I had been arguing in the past decade, and therefore in a round-about way, I feel I have something at stake in its success. Because it’s ideals are mine too. Absolutely.
Common Core believes there is a basic standards everyone should know. People are different but there are some things that need to be known and understood by everyone to function in today’s society. For example, everyone should know how to read; how to write, and how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide. Particularly in that last category; there are horror stories we can all tell of being the victim of a server, cashier, or clerk who seemed to miss one of those major building blocks.
Second, since public education is for the public, it should be relatively equal for all. The same grade of instruction should occur in the Southside and Northeast of Wilmington as it does at Indian River, Newark, or Dover. Income, race, or other influences should not be part of deciding who or whom, should or should not, get a good education. One never knows where the next genius will come from. Education must be equal for all.
Third, is the realization that all students are not college material. There is an IQ level of 100. Half of the population is born above it; half is born below it. Those events are beyond our control having been decided before birth. Our only option is to decide what we are going to do, with what we have been given. Nothing says those below 100 can’t meet the standards of those above; they just need more options required to do so. As a society, we have chosen to invest those options, fully knowing that when the floor of the elevator rises all those above it rise also. Since we are teaching for all, it makes sense that those who are gifted above the 100 IQ mark, should also get the best education they can possibly get to match their ability. This means instead of more repetition, they need more opportunity. Teaching these two together requires two exact opposite approaches at exactly the same time.
Therefore, tests should be required, exit tests, which show a person is ready to go into the next grade. That way the lessons made based on a student’s level, not their age. Students brains do not develop by age. They develop when their genetic code turns them on or off. Putting a student who can’t carry over numbers when they add, into a class which will be doing triple digit multiplication, will create problems for a lot of people. Therefore we need to test at the end of every school session, to insure the student is ready to advance.
Which means it now makes good sense to also test at the beginning of each session. From these we could determine what a student knows coming in, and compare that later with what they know going out. Did that student learn? If so, by how much? This is and should become the guide on how we all will base all ratings. We will compare thusly: “This state’s school system provides more bang for their dollar; this school district provides more bang for their dollar; this school provides more bang for their dollar, this teacher provides more bang for the dollar, this student provides more bang for their dollar and needs more opportunity to grow.
So in this ideal world, we have every student, no matter with what IQ they were born with, being challenged to meet the next step of their ladder, no matter at what the height it may be. We have a tracking system that follows each student, so future teachers can know in advance what works and what doesn’t with each child. We have all students proudly meeting their goals at the end of each school year, eager to do it again the next year.
In other words, we create children excited to learn, confident in their abilities, ready to meet the next challenge. And the same thing happens across all America, East, West, North, South, rich, poor, English speaking, non English speaking, or what ever.
The Core of knowledge is common among all.