In the past year, experts and practitioners in the field, whole child partners, and ASCD staff have shared their stories, ideas, and resources to help you ensure that each child, in each school, in each community is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged and prepared for success in higher education, employment, and civic life.
With more states adopting the Common Core State Standards, it can be overwhelming for U.S. schools and teachers to consider "adding" anything else. But character education isn't about adding, it's about integrating with all that you already do. In a new position paper from whole child partner Character Education Partnership, authors Kristin Fink and Karen Geller make the case that the Common Core State Standards are good for education, but Common Core integrated with character education is even better.
"The wonder drug has been invented, manufactured, packaged, and shipped. Doctors and nurses are being trained to administer the drug properly. Companies and consultants are offering products and services to help with the proper administering of this wonder drug. A national effort is underway to develop tools to monitor the improvement of the patients. The media are flooded with enthusiastic endorsement and euphoric predictions.
This cure-all wonder drug is the Common Core, short for the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Cooked up by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, this magic potion promises to cure America's education ills..."
Teachers, educators, and the public have every right to be skeptical. We've had two wonderful-sounding—and I believe initially well-intentioned—top-down education initiatives over the past decade that have left many scratching their heads and asking, was it worth it? The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, which many have argued has caused more grief and problems than it solved, and the ultra-competitive Race To The Top initiative that pitted states against states and educators against educators. In both cases, implementation could be described as draconian, ill-resourced, and somewhat flawed.
American Education Week's Parents Day—it is important to consider the role parents play in the Common Core State Standards' success. Like most other education initiatives, the Common Core standards will need a team of committed individuals, starting at home with the parents, to ensure its success. The Common Core standards, developed by educators and experts using research and lessons from top-performing countries around the world, describe skills and knowledge children need to be successful in our quickly changing world, including the ability to think creatively, solve real-world problems, make effective arguments, and engage in debates. Parents who value education should embrace the Common Core because their children will be challenged like never before. However, those parents who fail to get involved in their child's education may see their children struggle under the new standards.
The Common Core State Standards aren't an enemy. They're a smart way of saying to the public, "This is where education is going. This is what your child needs to know and be able to do as a future worker, citizen, and leader." To that end, the Common Core standards are helping to advance what we already know to be solid, holistic learning for our schools. This includes providing teachers the breathing room to get creative about focusing on integrity at every turn.
It's hard to believe that the trees are just about absent of leaves and the school year is well under way. As a parent of a 3-year-old, I spend time talking about the change of seasons as we listen to the sound of the leaves as they crunch beneath our feet. My husband and I take any opportunity that comes our way to explain the world around our son to help prepare him for his future in school and life. In essence, this is a nice comparison to the intent of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).
How do we support our students in being career and college ready? This is not a new question, and educators continually struggle with what that even means. We leverage rigor and relevance as keys to prepare students for the postK–12 world, but what does that look like? What are some practical ways to promote rigor and relevance and target specific Common Core State Standards? One key method, which is not new, is authenticity. Teachers can support students in meeting the Common Core by creating more authentic reading and writing tasks. Here are some ideas to consider as you target specific Common Core standards in instruction and assessment.
Post written by Lora M. Hodges for Northeast Foundation for Children/Responsive Classroom, a whole child partner organization.
Crafting powerful solutions for educating all children is an evolutionary and continuous improvement process. Educators and all those responsible for education must always be focused on innovating and pushing boundaries, digging deep, and searching wide for ideas to advance high-quality teaching and learning and to improve student outcomes. These are high-stakes outcomes, and clearly the wide adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is the most far-reaching evolutionary change in 21st century American education that can help us achieve these outcomes.
If the state of North Carolina decides to pull the plug on the Common Core State Standards, it will be a slap in the face to the teachers and administrators who have spent countless hours (most on their own time without reimbursement) preparing to implement the Common Core State Standards to maximize learning for 1.5 million students.
On June 2, 2010, the North Carolina State Board of Education adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) which were implemented during the 2012–13 school year. The CCSS represent K–12 learning expectations in English language arts and mathematics. They reflect the knowledge and skills students need to be college and career ready by the end of high school. Over the past few months, elected officials across the United States are beginning to question the CCSS. On June 4, 2013, North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest posted a YouTube video outlining his concerns.
While standing in the car rider line at an elementary school, I was approached by a classroom teacher. She asked, "Are we going to align our curriculum, instruction, and assessments to the Common Core State Standards next year?" I replied, "yes." Then I said, "The Common Core is not going away." The teacher replied, "The Lieutenant Governor is discussing eliminating the Common Core." I replied, "Which Lieutenant Governor?" The teacher said, "The North Carolina Lieutenant Governor, Dan Forest."
ASCD continually seeks to provide solutions to the challenges that face educators of all levels. Recently, the ASCD SmartBrief ED Pulse poll sought to develop a short list of useful tasks for parents to implement in their daily routine to enhance what is being taught in the classroom.