A February 16th article in the New York Times outlined the many complexities facing the implementation of the common core. New York State is experiencing many of the same issues that other states are with the Common Core Curriculum. The argument is no longer one sided, pitting conservative against liberal, but is now coming from all sides and it is asking, if nothing else, can the wheel of implementation slow down?
In the wake of No Child Left Behind, students were asked to be primarily test takers and therefore teachers were asked to pare down their instruction to cover the test material first, other material later. This often left only test content instruction since there was little time for other areas to be covered. The Common Core was established to help fill in areas that the No Child Left Behind Act left no time for. The Common Core stresses critical thinking and in my opinion, has many solid ideas behind it. But it has been placed into schools quickly and often without proper assessment or review. Teachers complain that they were given little or no time to work with the guidelines before they had to start teaching it.
As I see more students in my tutoring practice being tutored for the Common Core, I am left feeling that we have a good idea in need of better implementation. Teachers need to have the materials and training earlier, but also given some flexibility and choice in what they teach. It could be like a buffet table of Common Core requirements. Let the teachers pick and choose and put together their own smorgasbord of required curriculum. Parents need to be educated in what the content of the curriculum is as well as what the desired outcomes for their children are. And students need to be introduced to material at developmentally appropriate ages, after it has been carefully planned and thought out. In this case, a little thought and patience would go a long way.