Today the federal government has taken a role as a promoter of educational opportunity to students with numerous disadvantages. These disadvantages range from poverty to discrimination based on race and sex, to special education needs or even language barriers (Umpstead, 2008). Funds are supplied by the federal government for specific programs to improve educational quality; however, there may not be enough funds to cover all that is needed to make improvements. This is the controversial debate over the No Child Left Behind Act (2001).
This act assisted in setting priorities when it came to education, but the accountability measures made it difficult to “use assessments as levers for good practices” (Phillips & Wong, p. 38). The Common Core Standards, developed by the education team at the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, is an education initiative that follows the basis of standards-based education. The purpose is to provide a clear and consistent understanding of what students are expected to learn. College ready is the goal. With this, parents and teachers know exactly what they need to do to help students succeed.
It will allow states to work from the same core and share with one another not only what works, but also how best to teach the core. Fewer, Clearer, Higher Fewer, clearer, higher refers to the standards for math and literacy. These standards have been designed to allow teachers flexibility and manageability and to prepare students for college (Phillips & Wong, 2010). “Fewer” refers to the academic expectations for students.
What is necessary to be successful and how can courses be organized to allow sufficient time to teach and learn core content? Clearer” refers to states being sure that standards are comprehensible and coordinate with assessments used to determine progress and competency. “Higher” refers to the ability to apply learning and carry it over to other contexts. The Common Core Standards clearly defines what students should know and be able to do. It gives an opportunity to redesign assessment systems using a college-ready goal as the guidelines (Phillips & Wong, 2010). Math and Literacy Expectations The Common Core Standards is broadly written and allows teachers creativity and flexibility during instruction.
In 2000, completing Algebra I was the standard, today the standard is completing Algebra II, but evidence shows that students need more competency in data analysis and statistics. The Common Core Standards believe that students’ abilities must be more conceptual and less procedural. (Phillips & Wong, 2010) The math layout uses a technology –based program to track math and cognitive skills to provide a clear understanding for teachers what students need to know to be college ready. The literacy layout recognizes literacy as a spine; it holds everything together.
With the branches of learning connecting to it, the foundation recognizes that all core content teachers are responsible for teaching literacy (Phillips & Wong, 2010). The strategy with literacy is to secure performance expectations at three separate levels of demand rather than by grade level. The partner for developing the math and literacy tool and the assessment work is the Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST). CRESST is designing two frameworks. The first is content and skills in the Common Core Standards and the other, core cognitive skills.
Conclusion Developing a set of common standards throughout the United States allows public education to produce intelligent, competent individuals into the world. Each student will have an education comparable to those in neighboring states that levels the playing field for all. This restructuring of and creating of the Common Core Standards is a huge commitment and a great deal of work; however, it is work needed for creating a purposeful, comprehensible, and consistent system of education. The Common Core Standards is an investment in the future of America.