Common Core Being Implemented For the 2014-2015 School Year

In the eyes of many teachers and students, a new curriculum means new things and a lot of new changes. For others, this is just another thing to add the the list of things that have to get done within the school year.

In 2009, the National Governors Association banded together a group of five people. This team consisted of William McCallum, Jason Zimba, Phil Daro, David Coleman, and Susan Pimentel. The idea of Common Core is to “provide a clear and consistent understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to in order to help the students.” Common Core standards were designed to provide students a better understanding of the real world.

The Common Core curriculum is in effect as of the new 2014-2015 school year, leaving many teachers throwing out the old and bringing in the new. For many teachers, including Mrs. Tina Staton, the new curriculum changes the classes they teach.

“It will not affect my teaching (style) all that much because I use a lot of the methods now; however, as for what I teach, that has changed. They have decided that World History/World Geography [should] be taught in the 9th grade, which means that the emphasis will be put on World History,”  stated the World History, Psychology, and Sociology teacher.

Many students fear that the new curriculum will make keeping good grades a lot harder. Common Core emphasizes getting students to think and use logical reasoning behind each and every answer they provide. For most students, the thought of providing a written reason behind why two plus two equals four is just too hard to wrap their heads around, but as many teachers have said, it will get easier with some practice.

I worry that the change could cause an initial dip (in grades), but in the long run I believe this will be very beneficial to students,” said mathematics teacher Edward Potter.

Honestly, they (the students) will dislike it. A large number of students progress through the current system on memorization of facts and procedures without understanding what they are doing. The new system will require a deeper understanding and thus long retention of information, but the work required of students will be more challenging,” he added.

A lot of teachers agree that Common Core will majorly improve ACT and EOC scoring.

“Based on what I do know [about the end-of-course testing], I believe they give readings and then ask follow up questions on the reading.  The Common Core should help with this,” noted Staton.

In the short term it is hard to say, because we have never seen a Common Core-style EOC. I have confidence that with time, student performance will increase – but as I said before, the transition is going to take time,” Potter concluded.

Common Core standards are designed to help students in a different way, requiring them to really think about the answer they are providing, not just bubbling in a letter on a multiple choice test. Only time will tell how the new system will improve Central High School, but many are optimistic.