Common Core Op-Ed

Common Core Standards and Our Community: AN OPEN INVITATION

In 2010 the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers developed what is now known as the Common Core Standards (CCS) Initiative: The Standards then were adopted by 40 states, including Pennsylvania.

As educator ( provide identification) and member of AAUW, an organization whose mission is to break down barriers to equity for women and girls, I know that a set of high standards and expectations is essential to providing all students the foundation that gives them the best chance for future successes after their school years. I know that the development of strong critical thinking, literacy and mathematical skills and the ability to think analytically across disciplines are essential components of this foundation.   As I understand CCS, providing this to all students seems to be its purpose.

I have been asking others in our community what they know, and what they think, about CCS. I heard that CSG is another case of big government interfering with states’ rights and local control of schools. I heard that good teachers might lose jobs because of CCS. I heard that it’s being implemented too quickly. More often than not, however, I heard, “I never heard of it.”

If the CCS educational goals are to be met, all members of a community from those who pay school taxes to parents of five-year-olds, employers of future graduates, colleges that will receive graduates, must see themselves as stakeholders in this Initiative. That is, we all must educate ourselves: What are these Standards? How are they being implemented? What role does testing play in implementation? What are the consequences for students? teachers? parents? How are districts paying for all that it takes to make this succeed? Most important, we must look close to home to ask and learn: What is happening with CCS in our local school district.    

How do we do this? A few suggestions:

  • Parents might begin by asking their children’s teachers about CCS at their next parent-teacher conferences.
  • Our Superintendent of schools might write an Opinion Editorial explaining CCS as it applies to the district and follow up status report pieces on Implementation.
  • School board members might hold a special, open mike meeting on CCS for the community.
  • PTO leaders could sponsor CCS issues forums for parents and interested community members.
  • Our local papers might invite submissions from all quarters on the topic for an edition of the paper featuring an editorial section devoted exclusively to Common Core Standards and Implementation.
  • The local public service television/radio station(s) might put together a panel of stakeholders for one or more programs on this topic.
  • Local civic organizations might devote a program to the topic this year.

For these things to happen, though, many, many individuals in our community must decide that the issue of educational standards and expectations in our local schools is critical enough to the future of our children, our town, our state and our nation that we are prepared to ask for information, to speak out, and to act. And, we must begin NOW!

To learn more about Common Core Standards and Implementation in __________________ (Name your school district), plan to attend the AAUW- (name your branch),(program/issues forum/ panel discussion), open to the community on______________. For further information, please contact_________________.                    

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