Back on July 22, 2010, Maryland joined on as one of the first states to allow for the eventual implementation of the Common Core. While it has met with resistance similar to that seen all over the country, it has nevertheless remained firm in its stance of adoption, strategically silencing any opponents that arise. That being said, the recently released PARCC scores (a statewide test that aligns its questions to Common Core standards) are ushering in a new wave of fear.
Most states agreed to adopt the Core back in 2010. During this time, states held open houses, inviting all parents, teachers and other education community members to weigh in on the whys and hows of implementation. Three years later, those that didn’t heed the call began rallying against the new curriculum with many fearing it to be some sort of twisted Federal plot to influence the children. Though scary, these opponents failed to realize that the Core was and remains fully adaptable to the needs of each and every school. It doesn’t tell teachers what to teach and how to teach it. It gives them a set of standards students should reach by the time they graduate each grade level. This alone has allowed Maryland to maintain its firm, supportive stance of the Core.
Just because the state supports the Core doesn’t mean it hasn’t made concessions to protect its teachers and students from unjust penalties. In 2013, for instance, Maryland voted to delay teacher evaluations based off of Common Core tests until 2016-2017. The sole reason for this was because of the simple fact that the teachers needed more time to learn how to teach these new assessments, a move that is allowing each educator time to feel out the best way to approach teaching the standards.
In the end, this proved to be a smart move. In October of this year, the first PARCC test scores were released, revealing that less than half of the state’s students passed 10th grade Algebra I, Algebra II and English. However, instead of a tumultuous uproar from the community decrying the test and the Core as terrible things, most have found the facts sobering. While all understand it takes a few years for test score on new exams to improve, the more challenging curriculum has laid bare the fact that students aren’t ready for higher education. But instead of tossing out PARCC in favor on an easier test to bloat scores like Ohio has done, Maryland is taking this setback as a challenge. Once the nation’s leader in terms of education, they see now that there are major flaws that must be fixed if the children are to succeed in an ever increasingly competitive and globally connected world.