StateImpact is answering reader-submitted questions about the Common Core, a new set of expectations for what students should know and be able to do in math and English at each grade level. Ohio is one of 45 states that have fully adopted the Common Core.
The audience member asked:
Do you think students know or care what the Common Core is?
Excluding people who work in education, many American adults don’t know what the Common Core is. Nearly two-thirds of adults nationwide had never heard of the Common Core, according to a May 2013 PDK/Gallup poll.
So do kids know any better than their parents?
Panelists at the WVIZ/PBS ideastream Education panel discussion on the Common Core say it depends on the district.
Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper:
“I can tell you that my own kids don’t know and probably don’t care. They go to the classroom, they absorb what the teacher tells them they need to do, and they try to do it.
But Cropper says she thinks students will like lessons aligned to the Common Core better than the typical lesson under Ohio’s old standards:
“Are they going to associate [those changes] with the Common Core and say, ‘Oh this is the result of Common Core standards?’ I doubt that most of them will make that correlation, but I think they’re going to like the changes in how classrooms are conducted.”
Some schools are already using textbooks or other materials that display phrases like “Common Core-aligned” on their covers.
But in a completely unscientific, non-random, StateImpact survey of ten teenagers in suburbs east of Cleveland, few students were able to identify the Common Core as new math and English standards for Ohio schools. Some students thought the Common Core represented high school graduation requirements.
Steve Barrett, superintendent of the Kirtland school district, says he thinks many of Kirtland’s 1,200 students do know what the Common Core is.
He thinks Kirtland students know about the Common Core because of the changes in how their teachers are teaching:
“We’re not having Common Core assemblies for kids, but it is being translated through the classroom teachers. I think kids know [what the Common Core is] because teachers are saying, ‘Today I’m going to teach you how to problem solve with a Common Core problem.’”
Still, Barrett says his biggest worry isn’t whether kids care about the Common Core. It’s whether teachers have enough time to prepare to teach to the new standards.
Please tell us if you’re a parent, teacher, principal, policymaker or concerned citizen. We’ll find answers and share them here at StateImpact Ohio.