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5 Arguments in Support of Common Core Standards

by Michael Higham, published

In a previous article, 5 arguments against the Common Core state standards were articulated. The standards were summarized as the following:

The Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSI) came about in 2009 when the National Governors Association pursued development of new educational expectations. The NGA collaborated with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and released CCSI in 2010. The hope is to create a more modern and competitive education model for the US.

There are currently 45 states opting into the standards, with a few proposing legislation to remove itself from it.

As a response to the points made, here are 5 arguments in support of Common Core:

1. Students will be more competitive in a global economy

In 2012, the Economist Intelligence Unit

ranked the United States 17th in the world. Higher ranked countries are known to have its high school graduates attain the same level of education as US community college students.

Common Core outlines more rigorous standards to help high school students develop higher level skills to be competitive in a job market. Some argue that schools will lack diversity by abiding to the same curriculum. However, graduates will be more prepared for what employers around the country are looking for.

2. Standards were developed by a consortium of education experts and officials

Despite claims of Common Core being a national curriculum, it was led by two organizations formed by state officials. Both the NGA and the CCSSO decided on what core standards would look like. States decide whether or not to opt in.

As a result, the standards are meant to reflect cultural diversity of different states. Despite the federal government incentivizing Common Core adoption, it is not the same top-down reform seen in the past (i.e. No Child Left Behind).

3. The standards reflect a modern society

Integrated in Common Core's reform of mathematics and English is the incorporation of STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math). The inclusion of non-fictional texts can open discussions on the concepts of STEM. The structure of math standards are reflective of what is useful in engineering and science.

Specific science and engineering standards are currently in development, known as Next Generation Science Standards.

4. Clearer goals and expectations

The standards create clearer goals and students will better understand what is expected of them. Each grade level has outlines for what needs to be learned. There are also guides for teachers on how to help student meet those goals.

Some argue this sacrifices flexibility for teachers to run their classrooms.

5. Room for flexibility in teaching remains

There is room for flexibility in teaching since the standards act as a guide, not a governing law or curriculum. About 85 percent of the standards are set in stone, but the rest provides room for teachers to include what they believe is important.

There are no cookie-cutter lesson plans to follow either -- preferred teaching styles do not have to be sacrificed.

There are important details to consider on both sides of the Common Core debate. Whether you believe states should follow a common path for education reform or develop their own, the effectiveness of a high school diploma is still an issue. Creators of Common Core are willing to address it. Pros and cons will always be present in any reform movement, but such is the nature of policymaking.

Be sure to check out previous coverage of the issue on IVN:

Effectiveness of Common Core Standards Leaves Educators Uncertain

States Laws to Resist Common Core Standards Implementation

New National Curriculum Standards Geared for Global Economy

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