Sunday, November 10, 2013

Common Core Curriculum

By Edda Manley

This is the first year the Common Core Curriculum is being "transitioned" into the school system across the land. Having studied the phenomenon of the current generations having significantly different outlooks on things I began to ponder the "Common Core Curriculum".
The generations who are now having children, Gen X and Y are noted for feeling "special and unique".
The generation who developed and had input into forming the Common Core Curriculum are from the Boomer Generation where conformity and adhering to rules set by others was more highly valued.
The word "Common" of course can have several meanings: common as in ordinary or common as in an established togetherness. The children and parents of the younger generations are not very interested in being perceived as being common/ordinary. There is much in the media today encouraging everyone to be innovative and get inspired to lead in new thinking, the opposite of common as in established togetherness.
"Core" basically is another way of expressing a central, basic or even foundational aspect. When we consider the body, personal trainers will tell their clients that the core of the body needs to be strong the support the rest of the frame. There is a lot of body surrounding the "core" including organs, nerves, veins and arteries - all very important to a persons' well being. 
The core of an apple has the initial seed around which the delicious flesh of the apple is grown. In the education system, the powers that be have decided that the "core" which they define should be 85% of the curriculum.  States are permitted to have some leeway over a full 15% of what gets taught. So in other words, the people who have developed the Common Core Curriculum feel they know what 85% of the education should be for each student. The individual teachers who are actually implementing the curriculum and working with the students on a daily basis can only adjust what is taught by 15%. To me this seems to be reverse of what nature is showing us. The core of an apple is certainly not the majority of the fruit, and similarly the core muscles of our body don't comprise the majority of our body.
In the past, the education system that served students well for centuries had a solid foundation of reading, writing and arithmetic. On top of this "core" more information was added and our societies progressed in amazing ways with inventions from the printing press to iPads.

Only time will tell what kind of fruit the curriculum of today will yield.

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