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Ohio Students and Educators Need Common Core ~ Lisa Bass

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Lisa is a National Board Certified Teacher from Ohio. She has been teaching first grade for 13 years. Her undergraduate degree is a Bachelor of Science Degree from The Ohio State University. She worked in the business sector for 13 years before returning to school to earn her Masters in Education and Reading Endorsement from John Carroll University’s prestigious school-based master’s program. Mrs. Bass prides herself in being a Language Arts Advocate, Consultant, and Specialist. She is a National America Achieves Fellow and a Teacher Champion Fellow. Through these professional opportunities, Lisa is an expert on Common Core State Standards and supports educators in teaching Common Core State Standards-based differentiated lessons.
This week, I had the opportunity to present during my School District’s Public Open Forum at the Board of Education meeting. As a National Board Certified Teacher, long time first grade teacher and Independent ELA Consultant for the Ohio Department of Education, I have researched Common Core extensively and implemented the new, higher standards with positive results. The Common Core provides a solid foundation for our students as they work to meet the academic challenges in our society. Common Core supports strong learning and guides our educators to meet the demands that parents and communities have on 21st century learners.

<span “font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;=”” font-family:”times=”” roman”,”serif”;mso-fareast-font-family:calibri;=”” mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-ansi-language:en-us;mso-fareast-language:=”” en-us;mso-bidi-language:ar-sa”=””>We must be cognizant of the separation of Common Core State Standards and PARCC Assessments. THEY ARE DIFFERENT! Common Core State Standards are the driving force behind what we teach. They are rigorous standards that provide our students with demanding learning targets for both English Language Arts and Math.

Some people are confused by the word “common” in the standards. But in this case, common is good because it provides cohesive standards and expectations for all learners in the states. Common refers to the same high standards for all students. Common ensures that all learners in our country are held to the same high expectations for rigorous learning.

One thing “common” does not mean is that all students learn the same way. In education, we call that learning “differentiating,” which is how we teach our students in our own classes, based on each student’s specific learning needs. Common Core is different and more rigorous than the way I learned – especially in math – but, as a practitioner who teaches Common Core Math, I see the benefits. Through Common Core, students are now able taught to analyze and find the results instead of the way many of us learned math, through rote memorization.

Similarly, in English Language Arts, our students are expected to learn to process facts and information, rather than memorize skills. Students continue focus on learning through both fiction and non-fiction to enhance their reading and writing skills.

With the implementation of Common Core State Standards, districts and teachers have complete control over how we teach our students. We have complete control over resources, lessons, and differentiation to meet student’s specific learning needs. In our district, teams of teachers created our curriculum maps, which are constantly being altered to improve how we teach our students. We have complete control over how we teach our kids to help each student gain the skills they need and meet the rigorous standards. Control has not been taken away from us, I promise!

If some are opposed to the quantity and quality of PARCC assessments, that argument must be segregated from the argument about Common Core State Standards. It is critical to separate these arguments and discussions, for they are completely different topics. Common Core State Standards are what we teach and educators have control of how to teach their different students. PARCC assessments are the standardized assessments that give educators data on how students are progressing at meeting the rigorous standards.

Removing Common Core State Standards from our academics would restrain Ohio education and allow student learning slide into downward spiral. Common Core Standards are stimulating, challenging, and must remain in place.

More importantly, educators support Common Core. Superintendents, school boards, curriculum directors, communities, and students support Common Core. Since those involved in education support the Common Core State Standards, it makes 100% sense to keep them in place!