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Common Core Standards Come to Western Mass


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) – Change is coming for schools across Western Massachusetts. A new standard of curriculum is being set, raising the bar not only for students, but for teachers as well.

However, not everyone is on board with the move.

The latest in education reform is called Common Core. It challenges students to rely heavily on critical thinking and problem solving skills.

Supporters believe it will not only create smarter people, but better economics and a better life overall.

Springfield Superintendent of Schools Daniel Warwick is a supporter of the standards. “A big focus on high order thinking skills, writing skills and literacy throughout the curriculum. I’m a big believer in the Common Core Standards,” he says.

As an example, it used to be that when you were asked a math problem, the answer was black or white, right or wrong.

Now with Common Core, students are going to be asked to break down real life situations.

For instance, you have a recipe for cake that makes 6 servings, but 12 people are coming to dinner and all of them need to get cake.

One student may say you need to double the recipe, show her work, and she would be right.

Another student may say you could cut the servings in half, show his work, and he would also be right.

In the end, it’s all about the application of the math and being able to explain how you got to your answer.

Students, though, won’t be the only ones adapting to the new standards. Common Core is coming to Springfield and Superintendent Warwick recognizes the challenge.

“We are writing all new units, but we have to teach our teachers to teach differently, so our kids will reach these standards,” Warwick explains.

While it may sound good, not everyone is on board.

Tim Collins, President of the Springfield Education Association, fears the city is not ready.

“You don’t have enough time for school districts to adjust to the new curriculum to the new standards. You don’t have enough time to give the professional development to the teachers about a new method of teaching. In the city of Springfield, the new test for the Common Core is going to require every child to take the test on a computer. We don;t even have the resources so that can happen,” Collins says.

And teachers across the country are sounding off online as well.

One teacher from New York says, “It doesn’t allow kids to be kids. Their expectations are insane. Robbing kids of their innocence and preparing kindergartners for college is idiotic.”

Another from California exclaimed, “Many of my fellow teachers either do not know or are in denial about where we are headed! Unfortunately, I cannot continue to be the only ‘rebellious’ one they will simply get rid of me.”

Although Common Core was created to encourage critical thinking and problem solving, for some, the standards themselves appear to be the core of the problem.

In all, 45 states and the District of Columbia have all decided to align with the Common Core Standards. The idea is to unify education on a national level.

In Springfield, they are already beginning to implement the standards.

By fall of 2014, all schools will be teaching to the Common Core Standards.

WGGB encourages readers to share their thoughts and engage in healthy dialogue about the issues. Comments containing personal attacks, profanity, offensive language or advertising will be removed. Please use the report comment function for any posts you feel should be reviewed. Thank you.

  • dontcrankmeoff

    So this will make smarter kids? If so, why waste it on Springfield?

    • dontcrankmeoff

      Do we really need smarter gang members, murders, and robbers on the streets of Spfld?

      • dontcrankmeoff

        Before you sound off about not all kids etc, I will ask you to name just ONE success story of a kid educated in Spfld who went on to be something extra odrdinary? One? Maybe two? I didn’t think so…

    • alpinequeen

      It looks like you have already reaped the benefits of the Common Core Curriculum.

  • Product of a one room school

    Suggest the parents do some research. Start with Glenn Beck & THE BLAZE. This will rewrite History, The Bill of Rights and the Constitution. Also look at how they will change simple math and eliminate cursive writing.

    • weasel

      Common Core is the standard for Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China and Hitler’s Germany.

  • weasel

    Simply called BRAINWASHING. No right answer, no winner or loser, no courtesy or respect, etc., etc. that is the core of Public Education.

  • alpinequeen

    Check out Ayn Rand’s 1937 novella, “Anthem.” You can download it from Project Gutenberg in several different epub formats. It’s a scary prediction of where the current administration is leading us.