Educational reforms have long been a sore point in the United States. As each state is responsible for its own academic standards, many become defensive when the federal government tries to implement any form of change. While solidarity has led to some incredible programs in certain states, it has also led to equally as poor educational pursuits in others. Because of this, the US has seen a decline in its academic standing when compared with other first world nations, prompting the creation of the Common Core.
The Common Core
It must be stated outright that the Common Core has never been a federally mandated program. Instead, it is a set of standards for grades K-12 developed by leading educators from across the country. Its purpose is to get school systems up to par with global competitors so that America’s graduates have a shot at being accepted into good colleges and landing even better jobs.
Another important distinction that needs to be pointed out is that it’s not a specific program. It is merely general objectives students should be able to achieve by the time they graduate from one grade to the next. For example, where fifth graders will need to understand non-fiction, 8th graders will need to be able to analyze it critically. In addition, teachers and school systems are the ones to decide how these objectives are taught, allowing the states total control over this perceived federal take over.
When the Core was finalized, Washington tied to it the chance to receive funding for education, prompting many states to agree to Core adoption blindly. Not four years later when campaign bids started up and the standards were supposed to have been implemented did states begin speaking out against it. While some states, like Montana, have had no trouble whatsoever implementing the shift, other states, like Mississippi, are doing what they can to repeal the Core in favor of a state-sanctioned set of rules.
Oddly enough, the Core is anything but new in regards to the American education system. All states have created their own set of standards and implemented those. Like the core, these standards clearly define exactly what students should be able to do by the time they reach the end of that grade. This is all the Core is. The only difference is that the Core would then put every state on the same page, giving students equal opportunities to succeed no matter where they live.
Why, then, is it so hated?
The answer is never simple. From uneducated parents rallying behind favorite politicians to politicians flip-flopping because of upcoming elections, the entire thing has shifted away from the good it would do for the children to the emotionally charged knee-jerk reactions of the parents. For the wide majority of the states, educators fully support Common Core, but their support seems to fall on deaf ears.