On San Juan Island, we’re taking a common sense approach to Common Core. These new standards allow many of our students who move from state to state to experience common standards and expectations in Friday Harbor. Our teachers have been working to integrate consistent reading and writing skills in every subject area from social studies to science to career & technical education classes. This integration allows our students to develop and apply their skills while acquiring content knowledge. Our teachers are collaborating to adjust their lessons to the new standards, emphasizing what’s best about them for our students: integrated and applied knowledge and skills.
What every parent should know about Common Core State Standards
Q. What are Common Core State Standards?
A. The Common Core State Standards offer schools, teachers, students and parents clear, understandable and consistent standards in math and English language arts. The Common Core standards define the knowledge and skills students need to be prepared for college and career opportunities. They are internationally competitive and evidence-based. Washington is one of more than 45 states to adopt the Common Core. The standards replace Washington's current math, Reading and Writing learning standards. They do not replace our state learning standards in other subjects. What makes the standards unique is that they emphasize critical thinking and problem solving. The goal is to understand content rather than to memorize it.
Q. Who developed the standards?
A. The Common Core standards were developed by the Council for Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association. The two organizations convened a group to help write the standards. Washington state teachers, parents and administrators played an important role in this process.
Q. Who determines state learning standards?
A. Each state determines its own learning standards for each subject. In addition to adopting the Common Core for math and English language arts, Washington has learning standards in other content areas, known as Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALRs) and/or Grade-Level Expectations (GLEs). Learning standards are revised every four to six years, with input from educators, parents and community members from around our state.
Q. Why are common standards important?
A. Having a common set of math and English language arts standards across states will result in efficiencies for students, teachers and state budgets. For example, a student moving from one state to another should have a fairly seamless transition because the standards will be the same for both states. Teacher training programs and curricular materials can be developed using the common standards.
Q. When will this happen?
A. State Superintendent Randy Dorn adopted the Common Core State Standards in July 2011. Since then, OSPI has been introducing the standards to Washington teachers. During the next two years, they will be integrated into classrooms and will be assessed in the 2014-15 school year.
(Source: Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, FAQ: The Common Core in Washington)