There’s been a lot of talk lately about the implementation of the new Common Core State Standards in California schools this year.
I’ve read editorials, a lot of letters to the editor and several articles in many different publications about Common Core. I’ve read that kids are going to be asked to think more critically, be more creative and that the standards will put them on a path to college and career readiness.
This all sounds great to me. But really, beyond that, I don’t have much of an opinion about Common Core. I trust the people in our state educational system to make the decisions they think are right to help out kids succeed in life. I’m probably too trusting.
All I know is that for many years, California’s kids have ranked low when compared to the rest of the nation’s kids. This is not a situation of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Something was broke with education in California and state leaders are trying to fix it.
As parents, we can do the research – go online, talk to teachers, talk to administrators, talk to the school board, write letters. There was a forum in Vacaville on Wednesday to discuss Common Core. I couldn’t go – I was helping my daughter with her homework.
On back-to-school night, my daughter’s third-grade teacher gave us a small overview of Common Core, directed us to a website and provided a couple of handouts with more information about Common Core. She explained that while working on her teaching credential, she spent the entire time learning about the Common Core.
That was sufficient for me. I had no more questions at that point about Common Core. I know that many of the teachers at my daughter’s school attended workshops last year to understand Common Core and learn about how to teach it effectively. Awesome. I love it. This wasn’t the only school district where this happened. Millions of dollars have been set aside for teachers to buy resources, take classes and help them teach the Common Core methodologies.
One of the handouts we received provided several tips on what parents can do at home to enhance Common Core. I read them and we do all of it at home. We make sure our daughter shows and tells us how and why she came up with the solution to a math problem. All of her homework is adapted to Common Core and we are doing extra work at home with her to ensure she’s set up for success.
I’m not going to become some anti-Common Core mom. I’m not going to spend hours writing letters, researching on the Internet to prep my speech to recite in front of the school board. But I am going to do research so I can help my daughter succeed in the classroom.
Whatever the curriculum is, we as parents have a responsibility to help our kids succeed in the classroom so they are set up for success in life.
I like what I’ve read about Common Core. If my daughter isn’t challenged enough in class, I’ll push her harder at home. There are plenty of resources out there that can help me do that.
Maybe months from now, I will feel differently. But then I will go talk to my daughter’s teacher so I can understand the Common Core better and learn what we can do at home to help her improve.
After all, the teacher is the expert, not me.
Angela Borchert is a freelance writer who lives in Vacaville. Reach her at email@example.com.