Implementation of Common Core Standards in Pennsylvania

On July 2, 2010, Pennsylvania officially adopted their version of the Common Core Standards so many other states have adopted as well. One of the early implementers, it agreed to have total integration by the 2013-2014 school year, however the relationship has been less than ideal, leading to nothing but raucous debate over the period of four years.

Pennsylvania Common Core Standards

Though the switch began slowly and steadily, it wasn’t until 2013 that the true effect of the standards began coming to light. The new framework for yearly educational landmarks seemed like it was off to a good start. For three years, the changes slowly creeped into classrooms, altering what standards have to be met in order to proceed to the next grade. Unfortunately, the State Board of Education added more to these stipulations, including passing Keystone Exams in biology, literature and Algebra I, as graduation requirements. Needless to say, this was met with mass upset with a majority of negative feelings falling on Common Core instead of the Board that proposed the addition.

Not long after, Governor Tom Corbett ordered a delay right before full implementation was to go into effect in 2013. Because both the House and Senate committees on education were not comfortable with such a shift in grade-level expectations, Corbett decided to take a step back and postpone the process until acceptable modifications to the standards could be made.

In its simplest terms, the split between proponents and opponents in Pennsylvania revolves entirely around the final test determining graduation material. Many do not approve of a standardized test speaking for the aptitude of graduates in a world where some of the most brilliant minds do poorly on such exams. Another decent point argues the change is far too expensive after a $900 million budget cut made only two years ago. Finally, a smaller amount view Common Core as a narrowing down of curriculum, limiting the school in their ability to teach the students as a way to increase federal control.

Common Core’s Current State

As of last year, after the ban went into effect, state officials have confirmed that the standards were officially repealed, not to be used within Pennsylvanian borders any longer. The Pennsylvania Common Core Standards were done away with in favor of the Pennsylvania core standards. It is during this school year that these state standards are to be implemented.

While still similar to the Common Core, they are not the same. The only thing the two share is the desire to prepare students for the future by focusing on knowledge, concepts and skills they will need to flourish in college and beyond. Corbett even went a step further than his repeal of the Core in March. By September, he called for another reformation of the state standards to further distance them from Common Core. He even went as far as to refer to Common Core as a top-down takeover of states’ educational systems by the government. Yet even with this display of anti-Core, many opponents believe the Pennsylvania core is the government program with a different name—a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

As for how this is affecting the children, no one is quite sure. At the moment, it’s merely adults arguing over the future of the Pennsylvania school system. If, however, one thing can be gleaned from this, it’s that Common Core, whether it works or not, has sewn dissent among the masses. As far as the state of Pennsylvania is concerned, Common Core has no place. With opposition much louder than support, it seems the state will work to distan