Enter to win every day in CTNOW's 21 Days of Summer Giveaways. Click here to see today's prize.
Family Fun
Family Fun

Common Core 101

I got schooled in Common Core.

I felt a little behind the eight ball.  My kids are young and not in school yet, but with my oldest approaching preschool in the near future, I felt like it was time to educate myself about what everyone has been talking about.  I have to admit most of the headlines, facebook posts or tweets have been pretty critical, but for me, didn't get to the root of why "everyone" is so upset. I needed to rewind and gather up some basic information to see what's going on here!

The Bright Spot in Vernon offers Parent Talk classes once a month.  Director Dawne Morrison features a "topic relevant to the lives of young children and their parents."  Dawne not only works with children now, she's a former early childhood education teacher well versed in the new standards.  Dawne says the Common Core State Standards are for K-12 and "are not federally mandated but states choose to adopt them.  Connecticut is now 1 of 44 states that have done that." The standards were developed in 2009 and implemented in 2012. Simply put, Dawne said the standards are "what children should know by certain points."  Public schools in Connecticut must adopt the new standards.  Dawne says the standards are designed to make kids "college and career ready" and are described as "rigorous."  Dawne says she doesn't have a problem with that, but rather they're "not going to work for every child" since the new standards include a lot of non-fiction reading, essays, public speaking and technology.  (Because of that technology component, the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation funded a good chunk of Common Core.) The panel, however, didn't include guidelines for special needs students.  Special needs children however will continue to have IEP's, or individual education plans.  Dawne says that's why it's so important for parents to get involved to find out "what these standards will look like for my child."

Other concerns she says come from teachers, who she found "felt there wasn't enough public discourse of development of standards."  Dawne says of the 27 people on the national panel who set up these standards, three were teachers.   Teachers she's talked with said the standards have "come to teachers in a "fast and furious" method so "they have to change the way they do things" without the "curriculum to support these standards."  On top of that, assessments are "being rolled out before kids have even had a chance to go through it."  Dawne says "kids and teachers are stressed out." Another issue, she says is,  "the group of 27 disbanded, so how do you change it or ratify it, it's problematic" and Dawne says people have "legitimate concerns." 

Bottom line, I knew I needed to start learning about these new standards as my children enter the school system and Dawne says, "we as parents need to understand what's happening."  You can learn more about the Common Core State Standards on their website here

Copyright © 2015, CT Now
Related Content
  • A Madison Daycation: A Beach, A Bookstore, A Beautiful Hotel

    A Madison Daycation: A Beach, A Bookstore, A Beautiful Hotel

    Downtown Madison, Connecticut, has the feel of a beach town, though the beach itself is nearly 2 miles away. In addition to shops and restaurants, the town has one of the best independent bookstores in the state and a century-old independent movie theater.

  • Caribbean and Jerk Fest Returns To The Riverfront

    Caribbean and Jerk Fest Returns To The Riverfront

    Jamaican reggae artist Luciano, Barbadian jazz saxophonist Elan Trotman, the music and dance troop Iroko Nuevo and other Caribbean-style performers head to Mortensen Riverfront Plaza on Saturday, Aug. 1, from 1 to 11 p.m. for the 10th annual Taste of the Caribbean and Jerk Festival.

  • 10 Tips For The Best Summer Runs

    10 Tips For The Best Summer Runs

    Summer is a great time for running in Connecticut — outside of the heat and humidity, the swarms of mosquitoes and flies and the crowds trying to enjoy this short-lived season of sunshine. Besides that, it's great getting a chance to lay down the ear warmers and unearth those tank tops. But once...

  • Sounds Of Mexico Come To Old State House Farmer's Market

    Sounds Of Mexico Come To Old State House Farmer's Market

    The sounds of Mexico, along with dancing, hand-clapping and maraca-shaking, come to the Old State House Farmers Market. Fiesta del Norte, Connecticut's first mariachi band, performs on Friday, July 31, at noon at Connecticut's Old State House, 800 Main St., Hartford.

  • Sunflower Maze Returns To Lyman Orchards

    Sunflower Maze Returns To Lyman Orchards

    Dinosaurs return to the fields of Lyman Orchards in Middlefield when its annual sunflower maze opens Saturday, Aug. 1. This year's maze, approximately three acres, is shaped like a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

  • Cirque Éloize's Hip-Hop Streetfight Circus Comes To Connecticut

    Cirque Éloize's Hip-Hop Streetfight Circus Comes To Connecticut

    Cirque Éloize, founded in Montreal in 1993, over a decade after Cirque du Soleil, is purposefully polished and neatly paced, but modern in its thinking. It's "iD" show comes to Foxwoods for a monthlong run.