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Give Peas (and the Common Core Standards) a Chance

Courtesy of Lyssa Shadevan

“Be brave Turner, I know it is scary, but change can be good.” (My six-year-old niece Audrey to my three-year-old son, preparing him for his new preschool class.)

Change is scary. Let’s be real. Just like Audrey helping Turner, the difficulties of change are eased when you have support.

I am not a Common Core guru. I am a mother, teacher, booklover, and believer in every child having access to research based lessons every single day no matter where they live.

Enter Common Core Standards. This seed was planted many years ago and is currently being implemented across the country in 47 out of the 50 states. News of this shift has been met with mixed reviews by both educators and parents.

Why? Well…in education, we are known for

  • Quick fixes
  • Fast turnover
  • Buying into pretty much anything that is shiny and bright
  • Testing, retesting, over testing, testing the wrong things, etc.

Here’s why it is not acceptable this go round:

  • We need positive! As a first grade teacher, I simply do not have time to deal with teacher, education, or standards bashing. I need to spend my valuable time preparing lessons to support the new standards in a way that is meaningful, differentiated, and of course fun!
  • A national assessment has been in the works way before the Common Core Standards came to be. The CCS are not to blame. As the middle school student I mentor would say, “Don’t hate the player, hate the game.”
  • It was time for a change! If the Common Core Standards can effectively be implemented, the students I receive from other states will on the same page as my class-or at least close. This is great news….not for me, but for the children who make this move!
  • It’s broken, so let’s fix it! No one program (Fundations, Singapore Math, etc) will work for every child. Nor do all schools have access to all of these materials even IF (and again the don’t!) they did work for every child. What we do know is that we must find what works for the individual child. Having like standards opens the door for national collaboration about improving student learning.

And most importantly…

  • Standards do not teach children. Teachers teach children. Common Core Standards are the WHAT, teachers, schools, and counties create the HOW. The Common Core Standards in no way dictate how we teacher our students.

Whether you like the Common Core Standards or not, I invite you to be active. Be active in a positive way. Advocate for better teacher preparation in college,  clear teacher evaluations, and ongoing professional development in your child’s school. Visit your state Department of Ed site or www.pta.org to learn more about the Common Core Standards.

Make this the first time, in a really long time, that we come together (insert Beatles tune here) for our children. Let’s be role models by reading more, learning more, and doing more!

Lyssa Sahadevan is mommy to an adorable preschooler. She is a first grade teacher in Georgia, wife to a terrific hubby, an education advocate, and Georgia’s 2011 Mom Congress Delegate. She loves all things books and tells all about it at My Mommy Reads.

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