Thursday, July 26, 2012

Afterschool Embraces the Common Core

This article is written by a member of our expert blogging community.

With new Common Core standards rolling out, educators everywhere are preparing for change. As the education reform conversation continues, how does afterschool fit in?

In an article published in the Bakersfield California on Sunday, July 22, 2012, staff writer Jorge Barrientos stated, “Teachers and school administrators across the county…are gearing up for massive changes in the classroom designed to improve math and English instruction.” He attributes this to the “new Common Core Standards [which] strive to make students critical thinkers, not just memorizers.” In other words, the Common Core will authentically focus on educating young people and preparing them for the 21st century workplace.

Much has been written about the work place skills that will be needed by young people to be successful in jobs that have yet to be invented. These skills: communicate effectively, think critically, demonstrate problem solving capabilities, access and analyze information, network with a wide array of others, exhibit sound judgment in decision making, understand work place systems, and the ability to demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit as applied to defining one’s place in the work force, will be key to the success of today’s youth in tomorrow’s world. For afterschool, we consider this all part of our mantra: programming must include opportunities to build relationships, be relevant to the learner, and must be rigorous enough to engage the learner without overwhelming him or her.


"[Afterschool] programming must include opportunities to build relationships, be relevant to the learner, and must be rigorous enough to engage the learner without overwhelming him or her."

After school or out-of-school time programs embrace the Common Core as an opportunity to get back to what really matters—young people who are educated and able to compete globally. In his book, The Global Achievement Gap, Tony Wagner explains that America’s “brightest and best” - the AP student -  when compared with youth from other countries, can simply not measure up. The system that has focused on the importance of memorizing such inane facts as “who invented barbed wire” has diminished a generation of youth. After school has demonstrated the ability to fill the void with project-based and service learning opportunities which actually help youth apply the academic skills they are acquiring during the school day.

After school is well-positioned to support this transition of the school day and would embrace the opportunity to share authenticated best practices.

What’s your take on the Common Core? How can you see afterschool and school day working together to support student learning and achievement?

Photo via (cc) Flickr user d o l f i