Professional Issues: Reflection 1

EDU 6989 Session 1 Reflection: National Standards

Education is a part of society that will always be changing, and it is important that we stay tuned to the issues at hand. We have come a long way since the issues in the book Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Teaching and Educational Practice were laid out by author Dennis Evans. Even though these issues were addressed at the time the book was published—in 2008—I found the research into the issues to be quite interesting, and though I did quite a bit of reflecting on both Issue 1 (National Standards) and Issue 18 (Educational Technology), I will share my reflection on Issue One here.

The first issue in the book is, “Is It Time for National Standards in Education?” was written in 2008, some fifteen years after individual states had been left to create their own sets of standards. Lawmakers in Washington were worried that what one state deemed “Proficient” was not the same as what another state would deem “Proficient” in the areas of Literacy and Math. Thus began the issue that asked if the national government, rather than state government, should develop the standards instead, so that every state would have the same set of standards to prepare society’s children for the future. Those for national standards felt that when a set of rigorous standards were developed—and developed well—national standards would be great for schools, teachers, citizens, and especially students, since it was the goal to prepare students for college. Standards would allow educators to work collaboratively on curriculum that would build grade by grade and culminate in knowledge and skills that would help children succeed, and were also aimed to help bridge the achievement gap and reach both privileged children, and not so privileged children.

In 2009, state leaders launched the effort to develop common state standards. Final state standards were released in June 2010, and states spent 2011 and 2012 reviewing and adopting the Common Core State Standards into their curriculums and schools. While I have not worked directly with the CCSS myself, I have heard and read of many negative reviews surrounding the initiative, and I have spent the last school year teaching a math curriculum that is “Common Core-Aligned.” The math that is presented to my students is, at times, overwhelming and confusing, and attempts to teach “strategies” that just confuse my students. I do believe that standards are necessary to be able to consider students of the country equally “Proficient” on certain knowledge and skills, but I feel that the way that the CCSS initiative has infiltrated into our schools was not done with the students and teachers best interest in mind.

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