How important is a common set of local, state or national standards in your content area? How do any or each of those impact your instruction?
Over the years the idea of standards and standards of today have morphed and developed into a much clearer, consistent, and precise tool that is present in every school system. I say every because it they are not, more than likely that system is no longer a working/functioning system. I believe that it is important to have some sort of system in place so that all students are getting the same opportunities in education no matter where they are being educated.
When the first idea of standards came out things were not systematic and consistent. Each school district was writing assessments for each standard. Talk about comparing apples to oranges, to bananas, to pineapple, etc. No wonder we all had headaches! Teachers spent hours and hours and for what? Results that were not very useful and when compared on a larger scale were even more useless. In the article, The History of Common Core State Standards some questions were raised. “What’s more important?” Linn asks. “To tell the truth to parents about where their kids are really performing? Or to continue to make them believe they’re doing really well, only until they get into the workforce or they go to college and they’re finding out they need to be put in a remedial English class?” These were the questions that were raised and helped drive the process to what we now call Common Core Standards.
I know Nebraska is one of the five schools that have not adopted the Common Core Standards. Nebraska likes to do things differently and that is ok. Our standards are very comparable and give us guidance as to what should be taught in the classroom. These standards have helped guide the curriculum being taught. This has been an easy transition for most teachers and a struggle for a few. Change is hard for some. I refer to a quote that a professor once shared with one of my classes…”In the field of education, if you don’t bend you break!” I couldn’t agree more with this statement! I am usually a very flexible person and change comes relatively easy for me. I am happy for this as I make my own happy. J I have embraced the whole standards process and see many benefits for making me be a better teacher.
I found an interesting article that talked about Common Core Standards. In the article, 7 Ways Common Core State Standards Will Change Your Classroom, it states that there are philosophic changes you as a teacher will have to buy into to fit the mold that is Common Core. The 7 areas highlighted are: depth not width, nonfiction not fiction, evidence is required, speaking and listening, technology is a part of most/all standards, life skills are emphasized across subject areas, and an increase in rigor.
I believe the areas highlighted above are all very important and needed in today’s classrooms. As a parent/teacher I know that we each bring individuality to our classrooms but I like the fact that no matter what section or grade level students are in they should be held to the same standards and given the same educational opportunities. Standards are here and I don’t believe they are going anywhere so it is time to embrace them and use them as a guide to be the best educator we can be.