By Mary O’KEEFE
When students go back to school on Monday, they will probably not notice too much of a change, as teachers prepare for Common Core State Standards to begin. The process is a four-year process that will complete implementation in the 2014-15 school year.
“We began talking about [CCSS] in [March] 2011,” said Dr. Kelly King, assistant superintendent of educational services at Glendale Unified School District.
But long before the GUSD school board and administration began looking at CCSS, the process had begun on a national level coordinated by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers.
The CCSS has been adjusted to meet California’s particular needs, Giorgos Kazanis, information officer for the California Dept. of Education, stated.
CCSS was a program developed by a standards commission that consisted of 21 members: 11 members appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown, five members appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules and five members appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly. Less than half of the members of the commission were K-12 teachers.
The commission was assigned to create standards in language arts and mathematics that would better prepare students for college.
Each state could decide whether to adopt the CCSS and many states, like California, played a role in developing the standards.
“Parents, teachers, administrators, content experts and the organizations that represent them all participated in the development process,” Kazanis said. “The developers received [about] 10,000 comments from diverse stakeholders on the first draft of the standards and incorporated this feedback into a final draft.”
The draft was released in June 2010. It was then that the California Academic Content and Standards Commission (ACSC) examined the standards to make sure they matched the standards already established by the state.
There have been concerns that the CCSS is a strict program that would not allow teachers the freedom to create a teaching program that worked best for their classroom.
“To be clear, the CCSS is not a program or curriculum. They are standards … Standards describe what students should know and be able to do as they progress through the grades, but they do not tell teachers how or what to teach,” Kazanis stated. “The State Board of Education adopts standards for students in [K-12] but local teachers, principals, superintendents and school boards make decisions about curriculum and how their school system operates.”