Common standards are good for teachers because:
- They can inform the development of a curriculum that promotes deep understanding for all children.
- They allow for more focused professional development and promote collaboration.
- They can give educators more time to focus on depth of understanding and richer units of study rather than focusing on “fitting everything in.”
We must provide greater challenges in our classrooms and encourage students to apply themselves at a higher level. In Arkansas, only 30 percent of high school students who took the ACT demonstrated readiness for college math. Change is needed now. The Common Core State Standards Initiative ensures all students, no matter where they live, can graduate from high school prepared for post secondary education and careers in the global economy.
Common Core standards don’t tell teachers how to teach, they help teachers discover the knowledge and skills their students should have in order to build the best lessons and learning environments for their classrooms. They will help teachers develop and implement effective strategies and provide important goals for teachers to ensure they are preparing students for success in college and the workforce.
Teachers have been a critical voice in the development of the standards. The National Education Association (NEA), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) have been instrumental in bringing together teachers to provide specific, constructive feedback on the standards.
The new standards focus on core conceptual understandings and processes at each grade level, providing teachers with the necessary time to teach these concepts and processes well. Common Core will make it easier for states to pool information and resources to develop a shared set of high quality assessments to better evaluate student progress. The goal in Arkansas is not to have more tests, but to have a better assessment system that helps students, parents and teachers.
Common Core will also help colleges and professional development programs better prepare teachers. The new learning standards will guide educators toward core curriculum that will give students a deep understanding of the subject and the skills they need to apply their knowledge.