A bit of commentary...
The puzzle of teaching in the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) era is one that leaves me, a public school teacher in California, often scratching my head for answers. I am conflicted about the new standards, in part because of how they are politicized. However, I personally prefer the CCSS approach to the previous NCLB and California State Standards: Diving deep into topics (a CCSS approach in my mind) is far preferred to wading in a mile-wide, inch deep puddle of memorized knowledge.
I have just finished a four-year stint of teaching high school English. My CCSS experience is hence focused on the English/Language Arts standards. The students I taught over these years have all been educated in the NCLB era (effective on 1/8/2002). I see the biggest challenge, however, is for current high school students making the shift to Common Core, without the benefit of a ramp of educational experiences leading them to this point. This is the challenge for today’s teachers in students: How do we make this shift?
I leave aside the politics of Federal versus State educational control and policies. I even let go of the politics of testing. These are all out of my control. What is and will be under my control is the students in my classroom and how I collaborate with other teachers to improve student learning. I embrace this time of change. I honestly think it is change for the better. As teachers, we are being asked to prepare students for the future, and consider what students need to succeed in the real world.
Rather than constructing an “either/or” argument, (either academic knowledge or world-of-work skills), I’d rather create a “yes/and” learning environment, where solutions to multiple demands can be found. So I seek out methods that engage students, such as Project Based Learning, and bit by bit, students will learn to dive deeper into understandings, even if we have to wade out together gradually, until they are eventually ready to swim off independently.
Have more questions about Common Core? I just found this updated link from Edutopia on the topic that might help!