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Book Review: Pathways to the Common Core: Accelerating Achievement: CHAPTER 1

Updated on July 4, 2017

Calkins Chapter 1: Text Reflections

In this chapter, the author Calkins elaborates that a common core state standards for education is necessary in leveraging the whole school reform. This is irrespective of the fact that there are mixed perceptions of the existence of these policies among various people. Calkins notes that many educators find the common core standards in education as something that is not so important on the education system. In other words, many of these educators are not comfortable with adhering to the common core standards in education. Among the impediments obstructing the implementation of the common core standards as the author notes include poverty and lack of sufficient funding for the system. The common core standards have also been opposed due to controversy surrounding its authorship and reliability in improving the national education. For instance, the author notes ambiguity in structure, regulation on teaching and learning practices, and compliance with the nation’s laws.

In my experience as a school teacher, I have noted that Calkins observation of many educators not contented with the CCSS holds true. Apparently, a number of parents and educators have been advocating for establishment of national educational standards that is voluntary. This is based on the belief that it would be important for school districts and states to stipulate guidelines on important aspects that should be known and done by students as they go through schooling. The standards that many educators advocate for are those that are voluntary and not imposed by the government. Other argument is that each school and classroom is unique in its own right and hence, it is the teacher’s discretion that should determine the right system to be applied in a given context. While the CCSS demand that all schools should be able to provide enough resources and opportunity for learners to learn, math, sciences, reading, history, physical education, geography, history, arts, and civics, as well as be taught by trained and qualified educators, there are many schools finding it hard to adhere to this requirement due to lack of funds and support. These issues and many more can present sufficient reasons why many people are negative about the common core standards.

Nonetheless, Calkins also observes that the common core standards can work bolster the education system if they were to be taken positively by the stakeholders. In other words, the standards were failing to work because they were being considered negatively by those responsible. Therefore, in another perspective, the author observes that these CCSS as full of potential, and with capability of raising hope within the education system. The authors argues that although there could be flaws in this document of CCSS, there is certainly something good that can be retrieved from it for the good of the education system. Therefore, what individuals are required to be to change their attitudes towards CCSS and embrace every good thing that is contained therein.

Indeed, the efficacy of the common core standards can be seen in various states. Further, there are many educators who have attested to improvement of math, reading, history, art, science and geography in their schools as a result of introducing CCSS. In addition, the system has helped integration of literacy across the states, improved teaching methods through use of support claims and helped in utilizing of complex texts. In short, the system has helped in harmonizing learning and teaching across the country. Therefore, the efficacy of CCSS depends on individual’s attitudes and the measures considered in implementing it.


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