Starting this upcoming 2013 school term, 45 states will start field-testing the new Common Core standards. Under President Bush’s education reform in the No Child Left Behind Act, states were still free to set their own standards. Then, starting in 2008, the National Governor’s Association commissioned a new set of standards intended to be national. In order to get funding from President Obama’s Race to the Top program, states must submit to these new standards.
California adopted the Common Core standards the day of the deadline to receive national funding. Alaska, Texas, Virginia, Minnesota, and Nebraska did not sign on.
Common Core is somewhat controversial albeit not across traditional party lines. Many are concerned with a loss of local control, the increase in cost, the homogenization of education and the greater emphasis on testing. For some states, whose standards are severely lacking, Common Core is a change for the better. However, it also reins back the states with excellent and well-established standards.
Given the globalization of the workforce, the standards intend to measure individual aptitude with international standards in mind. The goal of the standards is to make access to educational material more consistently available across the country.
The standards have been popular among teachers. 75% of those polled in a survey by the American Federation of Teachers approved the standards. However, 74% also feel unprepared and worry about implementing the new standards even though 43% of teachers have received formal training. This summer, some teachers will be attending camps to learn how to implement the Common Core standards.
Most teachers polled feel that the new standards will place greater emphasis on testing and teaching for a test. Perhaps as a consequence, fully 83% of all teachers polled favor a moratorium on the consequences of the new Common Core standards until they have been in place for more than a year. Subsequently, Common Core will replace older standards starting in the 2014 school term.