The USC Rossier School of Education is making strides to teach the education community about the Common Core State Standards through its interactive guide, a non-partisan source of information about the Common Core and what it looks like in today’s schools.
According to Corrine Hyde, an associate teaching professor of clinical education at Rossier, the Common Core is a set of national educational standards for grades K-12 in English and math with the goal of preparing students for success in the future. As of today, 42 states, the District of Columbia, four territories and the Department of Defense Education Activity have adopted these standards.
“Common Core is game changing, for better or worse,” Hyde said. “In the past, each state has written its own standards for learning. Most states have aligned themselves now with Common Core, and so understanding what Common Core establishes as the knowledge and skills students should have in math and English is critical for anyone involved with education.”
According to Rossier’s guide, the problem with each state defining its own learning goals was that each state also defined what it meant to be proficient. In order to create the Common Core, the writing teams at Rossier researched the best state educational standards at the time in order to figure out the types of standards successful states had in common.
Ross Brenneman, a media relations specialist at Rossier, said the general public often does not understand the nuanced context of the Common Core. The latest poll conducted by Rossier and Policy Analysis for California Education found that 39 percent of California voters said they had read little or nothing about the Common Core State Standards.
“The standards have been in place for a half dozen years,” Brenneman wrote in an email to the Daily Trojan. “So we like to think this guide offers a solid grounding for those interested.”
The seven-part guide includes a map of the Common Core by state, indicating where it has been formally adopted, partially adopted and repealed across the nation. It also features examples of questions used in the curriculum and the best way for teachers to go about explaining the Common Core to parents.
Hyde said she believes helping teachers understand the Common Core is important because of the changes the new standards will create.
“In the past, each state has written its own standards for learning,” Hyde wrote in an email to the Daily Trojan. “Most states have aligned themselves now with Common Core, and so understanding what Common Core establishes as the knowledge and skills students should have in math and English is critical for anyone involved with education.”
Michelle Manno, the communications manager for Rossier’s Master of Arts in Teaching and Doctor of Education online graduate degree programs, said that learning about the Common Core is crucial in the current political climate, especially with the appointment of a new Secretary of Education.
“[The guide] is a way to have a more general, objective, truthful understanding of the Common Core,” Manno said.
Since the guide was released in October, Manno said the team has received positive feedback from teachers in the education community.
Hyde added that there are several major misconceptions about the Common Core, and the guide serves to provide the most accurate information.
“Common Core is often misunderstood, and it is also often polarizing,” Hyde said. “People seem to love it or hate it, but many of the reasons they give for both positions are not accurate reflections of what Common Core actually is.”