The Effects of Common Core on Our Education System

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The Common Core refers to a set of learning goals, or standards, for grades K-12 in English language arts/literacy and mathematics. These standards are designed to ensure that upon graduation from high school, students are prepared to enter the work force or enroll in credit courses at a two or four year college. The standards were developed at the national level with input from parents, teachers, administrators, education experts, and state representatives. The benefit to having a national standard is that a student taking fifth grade math in California will be learning the same skills as a student taking fifth grade math in New York. Currently, students who transfer to a new school frequently find that they are ahead or behind their new classmates in one or more subjects. The Common Core aims to correct that. Students will still encounter a different curriculum, since that is created at the state level, but they will be learning and using the same skills and knowledge.

Participation in Common Core is voluntary and so far 44 states have chosen to adopt the standards. Maryland refined the Common Core standards to create the Maryland College and Career Ready Standards. These new standards will result in a more rigorous English language arts and mathematics curriculum.  While the goal of Maryland’s new standards is to better prepare students for college and the work force, the implementation of these standards is not without problems. Some of the issues still being examined are: how already overburdened teachers can find time to create a new curriculum; the impact of the new curriculum on students who have been learning under the old curriculum; the ability of underfunded schools to implement the new curriculum as effectively and successfully as better funded schools; the impact on students with disabilities; and the best assessment testing methods for students and teachers.  Maryland is committed to the new standards and is working with all stakeholders to resolve these and other issues.

It is not just teachers, future teachers, parents, and students who are affected by the Common Core and the Maryland College and Career Ready Standards.  Everyone has a vested interest in our country and our state’s educational system. Students become citizens who vote, work, pay taxes, raise children, and contribute to the community. Improvements to the educational system affect, and should concern, all of us. For more information on Common Core visit www.corestandards.org. For information on the Maryland College and Career Ready Standards, visit www.marylandpublicschools.org.