Friday, July 5, 2013

Is Common Core a Game Changer?

I read an article recently by Mike Kirst, President of the California State Board of Education entitled Common Coreand State Policy:  It Changes AlmostEverything.  He begins this article by saying that the implications of Common Core are just “beginning to unfold” and that it is incumbent upon policymakers to eliminate “conflicts between policies, look for gaps where there is no policy, and ensure that newly aligned polices have sufficient breadth and depth.” 

Common Core is designed to drive learning deeper and turn-around the current trend to memorize facts and regurgitate those facts on a standardized test.  It is expected that the Common Core will transform the learning silos that are common today.  Common Core is not a new curriculum, it is an approach to learning that is focused on relevance, application, transfer of knowledge to new situations, communication, collaboration in problem solving, and continuing the quest to learn how to learn more effectively.  It will not be enough for youth to simply give an answer—correct or not.  The learner will need to explain the strategies used and the thinking that was involved to arrive at the answer. 

Common Core standards can be naturally included in project-based learning, service learning, and community service—three options often found in afterschool programs.  The Three R’s of afterschool—relationship building, relevance, and rigor—fit perfectly with the Common Core mind set.  If you haven’t been reading about these game changing standards, go on line and you can find a plethora of material to help inform your thinking.

Where are you in your knowledge and understanding of the Common Core Standards?  What are you doing to embed the Habits of the Mind in your program?  Let us know what you’ve got going on.

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