The statewide rollout of Wisconsin’s Common Core State Standards (CCSS) designed to create uniform academic standards.
The Clintonville Public School District Board of Education was given a presentation by Director of Instruction Chris Van Hoof at their meeting on Monday, Jan. 10.
Currently, every state has its own set of academic standards, meaning public educated students are learning different content at different rates. The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) states that students must be prepared to compete with not only their American peers in the next state, but with students around the world-hence, the CCSS have been developed. This initiative will potentially affect 43.5 million students, which is about 87 percent of the student population.
The CCSS initiative is a “sea change” in education for teaching and learning. It mandates the student learning outcomes for every grade level. Students will be tested and instructional effectiveness will be measured based on CCSS. Federal funding is tied to CCSS adoption, implementation and accountability. English, Language Arts, and Mathematics CCSS are just the beginning, as more subject area standards are being developed.
According to the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association (NGA), Common Core Standards define the knowledge and skills students should have within their K-12 educational careers so that they will graduate high school able to succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing academic college courses and in workforce training programs.
Organizations like CCSSO and NGA believe that CCSS are good for students because they offer a college and career focus, consistency, mobility and student ownership. The standards are said to be good for parents because they provide clarity, support, equity and involvement in their child’s education. Educators will benefit through training, valid assessments, depth of understanding, and an opportunity to tailor curriculum and teaching methods. States and districts will benefit because CCSS encourage best practices, competition, improvement in state assessment, and the ability to compare and evaluate policies across states and districts.
Common core college- and career-ready students and K-12 standards are the foundation of CCSS, with state standards, assessments and curricula as the framework. District curricula, assessments, and instruction are what complete the educational experience under the CCSS model. Old state standards will no longer be recognized.
The 3-phase rollout of the CCSS began with the 2010-11 school year, as Wisconsin adopted the CCSS on June 2, 2010. Forty-one other states have also adopted the standards.
Phase 1 (Understanding) began this year, while Phase 2 (Curriculum) begins in 2011-12 and Phase 3 (Assessment, Instruction) begins in 2012-13, culminating with the implementation of new state summative assessment tools in 2014-15.
“Although I don’t necessarily agree with the politics involved in creating the Common Core State Standards, I do really like the outcome,” stated Van Hoof. “I believe the new standards are ‘fewer, clearer, and higher’, which is what the writing committees set out to do.
“One of the biggest advantages of the new standards is that they are grade level specific, so we are no longer making the decision of what to teach on a district by district basis,” Van Hoof continued. “Everyone in Wisconsin (and several other states) will be teaching to the exact same standards in reading and math in grades 5K-12. That has never happened before.
“The ‘What should we be teaching?’ question has been answered by the Common Core State Standards. Now we can spend even more of our time, money, and energy focusing on the how to teach so that all students learn,” concluded Van Hoof.