Recently in my hometown paper there were two FULL pages devoted to the controversial topics of Common Core. I felt the newspaper actiually did a nice job explaining exactly WHAT the Common Core is and WHO is using it. It showed examples of what we have taught in the past and how we now must “dig deeper” to better prepare our youngsters for the future.
I am in a district where the Common Core was implemented this year. Was it a change for me? You betcha! I have to rewrite or invent new lessons and break apart the standards. I have to have the following make sense to a ten year old. “Solve multi-step word problems posed with whole number and having whole number answers using the four operations, including problems in which remainders must be interpreted. Represent these problems using equations with a letter standing for the unknown quantity. Assess the reasonableness of answers using mental computation and estimation strategies including rounding.” To a fourth grade audience, that means “use addition, subtraction, multiplication and division to solve multi-step problems involving whole numbers.”
New curriculum, new textbooks, and new lessons all mean more planning time is needed. To a district, that means more money is needed. In a state where school levies often fail, budgets are continuously slashed and class sizes continue to grow, this is a huge task! Don’t forget, we are phasing out the Ohio Achievement Assessments next year. The new tests in 2014-2015 will all be online. Have any of our legislators realized what it will cost to upgrade our current technology budget to do this? Not to mention how many new computers are needed is we have only three technology labs and over 500+ students? (And this is just one building. I am not including the other buildings in our system.)
When it comes to the Common Core, I am compliant and I have done what my district and legislators have asked. I have changed my teaching style and I have adapted to a new curriculum. My coworkers and I dilligently work evenings from home and go into work on the weekends to prepare for all these changes. Without various materials, we are left to search high and low for texts to fit these new standards. I only hope the public and our lawmakers appreciate our efforts. Do any other educators out there feel the same way?
…..and if an Ohio legislator is reading this, I hope THEY adapt to the changes as quickly as I have, put their personal lives on hold, and MAKE SURE OUR SCHOOLS have what it NEEDS to be successful and implement what THEY are asking.
Elementary Teacher, Ohio