What parents think of the Common Core

Many states have now completed the implementation of the Common Core State Standards in their schools. Students and teachers are becoming increasingly familiar with the Standards and the curriculum it inspires. However, parents aren't so informed. According to a poll by PDK and Gallup, 62 percent of public school parents have not heard of the Common Core. Despite that fact, Americans still have strong opinions on Common Core-related issues. National PTA President Otha Thornton pointed out in a statement that the concerns of many parents have more to do with issues surrounding the CCSS than the Standards themselves. 

Teacher accountability
Standardized assessments implemented in conjunction with the CCSS measure how well students are grasping the content. While the tests don't necessarily affect students' grades and track toward graduation, the exams are very high stakes for teachers and schools. The scores measure how well teachers are introducing the new class content (information that is used in educator evaluations and the determination of school funding). However, the majority (58 percent) of parents polled think that student assessments should not reflect on teachers' performances. While that might be true, many parents (60 percent) believe that teacher evaluation results should be available in the public record. Parents would like to be able to see how effective teachers are at educating their kids, but not use the tests to determine an educator's fate.

The testing situation
Testing is among the issues many Americans feel iffy about regarding education. Only 22 percent of respondents believed an increased amount of standardized testing improved student performance. In fact, 75 percent felt that testing either made no difference or actually caused students to perform at a sub par level. More Americans believe that teacher/student relationships are much more vital for student success. Teachers who communicate and relate to their students can motivate them and guide them through school. That extra attention is what parents believe can help students do their best.

21st century skills
Rather than focus on testing, parents reported wanting to see their children learning skills for future success. This is actually a goal of the Common Core, to help students be ready for college and their careers. The poll noted that 21st century skills included critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity. Students should also be introduced to computer sciences and studies that would help them stay up to date on technology they may use beyond the classroom. 

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