Common Core Doesn’t Allow for Individual State Needs?

One particular charge I repeatedly hear against Common Core puzzles me. The claim is that State and local school boards know what their students need best. While that makes sense, the following implication that using Common Core means State needs and history can’t be taught doesn’t. The standards do not dictate the curriculum or content, provided one can meet the standards using those materials. For the most part, the same texts could be used without a problem.

There are no standards for social studies and science at the elementary level, so those should remain unaffected. It should not mean those things aren’t taught, though I know in practice that will happen. I know that because my sister and I both experienced it teaching in Florida, where our schools decided you could only teach what was on the FCAT. This is tragic and wrong, but not really the fault of the standards.

The standards for social studies and science for grades 6-12 do not specify content, either. Rather, they deal with topics such as identifying and evaluating various types of sources, which is necessary for any topic. The local and State boards should still be able to determine the content itself.

So unless I’m missing something, I don’t see why adopting the Common Core standards necessarily means that the State and local school boards can’t continue to determine the actual content taught. It shouldn’t be a problem at all, if properly implemented. I know it probably won’t be properly implemented everywhere, unfortunately, but that problem isn’t with the standards in themselves.

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2 thoughts on “Common Core Doesn’t Allow for Individual State Needs?

  1. I’m with you on that. I wrote about the CC here http://rannthisthat.blogspot.com/2013/10/seven-quick-takes-on-common-core.html and elsewhere (commenting on other people’s blogs) and so far no one has been able to explain to me which standards are inappropriate. I realize too that anytime you have standards there are going to be people who don’t reach them either because they aren’t willing to work hard enough to meet them or because they are incapable of meeting them. I think one thing a lot of people don’t realize is that many states have had standards based education for some time and that teachers have to document that they taught the grade level standards, and if that means they don’t have time to teach other things, well, that becomes a matter of conflicting priorities.

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