Common Core Standards are the academic guidelines adopted across a range of states in the U.S. These standards were implemented in order to prepare students for colleges and universities as well as to improve the level of academic awareness across the country. These principles are applied all the way through kindergarten to high school so that students can gain academic achievements before obtaining a degree. The major benchmarks are language arts and math; it means that the students must acquire knowledge of these two essential subjects to pass the exams successfully (Brooks and Murray). For a long time, states have been using their own academic tenets for preparing youngsters for college; however, there has been a significant gap between their programs. Thus, Common Core Standards were created to provide each individual with an opportunity to excel in obtaining knowledge (Tampio). Even though the Common Core Standards have proved their efficiency, they have many forms of ineffectiveness for teachers, students, and education in general.
There have been many concerns regarding the implementation of Common Core Standards. One of the major issues that arose while trying to intervene this program into the educational system of American schools is that it is a time-consuming process. The transition to the new standards could not be very quick, and the adjustment procedures took longer than expected. It was introduced in 2009 in 48 states, yet some schools are still getting used to the new academic regulations even now (Tampio). The most difficult part of the standardization was adapting to the format of teaching for the educators and learning to the students.
Initially, the teachers were eager to adopt new practices to their educational activity; however, after having experienced new standards, the majority realized their ineffectiveness. It was conditioned by the fact that most subjects and their syllabus were standardized to the primitive level (Somma). In addition, the large number of tests proposed were too generalized, not allowing students to grasp technical information that could be useful in their future careers (Hall). The educators were forced to teach people to pass the tests and not think analytically (Polleck and Jill). Educational results became no longer valuable, while the testing results started defining the academic performance.
In the meantime, students had to undergo significant alterations in their learning process as well. They had to experience a shift from preparing for a lesson to preparing for a test. Memorization of standardized answers reduced their level of analytical thinking and caused a gap in their knowledge (Tampio). Students using these principles are often taught compliance rules rather than practical skills, which results in their inability apply information in practice. This gives the impression that students are working as they should, whereas, in fact, there may be several shortcomings in education.
Additionally, the textbooks had to be readjusted to the new standards. In particular, the prices of school textbooks are a major concern due to the rapid advancements in the book industry. Therefore, many districts are unable to obtain the necessary number of new textual materials for the lack of funding. Numerous schools were forced to purchase the updated versions, while other schools postponed buying them (Polleck and Jill). This situation has contributed to the halt of academic processes, and the performance was lower in some states than in others.
Because of the rapid shift to the new educational standards, many schools across the country have experienced a decline in the academic performance of the students. By shifting to Common Basic Standards, the quality of education deteriorates in an attempt to boost the performance score at the state level (Hall). The developers aimed to establish the guidelines which would balance the academic performance level between the states (Polleck and Jill). However, while some states excelled, the others maintained or reduced this level. In general, the idea of ineffective knowledge obtaining is the underlying factor of the program’s underperformance and its negative system on the educational system.
What is more, the Common Core Standards do not consider the inclusivity principle. This principle is used to describe the process of teaching individuals with special needs in state schools (Polleck and Jill). Inclusive education is based on the idea that opposes any discrimination against children. It aims to guarantee ensures equal treatment of all humans, yet it creates opportunities for educating incapacitated children. This process contributes to the development of teaching and learning processes, providing accessibility of educational services for all groups of population (Tampio). Undoubtedly, the lack of flexible educational standards and the inconsistency of curricula and the content of mass school education with the special educational needs of the child do not allow teachers to take responsibility for the child’s education.
However, the Common Core Standards do not take into consideration of children with special needs but are rather based on the standardization for all students. It means that all the tests are generalized and can be given to both gifted individuals and those with special needs. Even though these standards were intended to provide equal opportunities for pupils, they affected the principle of inclusivity (Tampio). This led to the development of prejudice in schools as the performance of incapacitated kids has rapidly decreased, not allowing them to succeed. Children in need of inclusive education might not have disabilities (Tampio). However, they have special educational needs that require changes in the pedagogical approach and often equipment.
In total, inclusive education and the Common Core Standards contradict each other for student with special needs cannot obtain knowledge to the same extent as the regular ones. It contributes to the spread of inequity and lower performance rate in the school. This affects the level of performance statewide and worsens the statistics. Hence, it is necessary to elaborate new standards for children with special needs. On the other hand, the programs’ developers may create eligibility criteria so that incapacitated children will be taught differently.
The other major disadvantage of the Common Core Standards is that they were developed without certain criteria related to the content but with the precise on regarding the assessment. Many educators reported that the new guidelines were increasingly broad and vague, which led to the constant confusion about the curriculum and how it was to be compiled (Somma). The new program provided concrete rules for teaching children up to the eighth grade. On the other hand, no specific syllabus was suggested for educating high-school students, which created major concerns about their performance and knowledge acquisition (Somma). This led to debates about the effectiveness of the standards and their applicability to all the grades.
Furthermore, the significant concern was caused by the fact that the standards only applied to language arts and math. These two subjects are the foundation of any educational system, yet they cannot guarantee a student’s success in other subjects. Apart from these compulsory disciplines, children must acquire knowledge of the other ones to form their worldview. However, since only these two subjects were modernized, the rest was taught in a traditional way which caused misunderstandings among the students.
As a result, the other essential disciplines, such as science and social studies, were cast aside, leading to unequal knowledge acquisition. While students had to think analytically when studying and preparing for these subjects, they lost interest in math and languages as the programs became too generalized. The syllabus only presupposed examining a new topic, practicing tasks, revising material, and solving the standardized tests (Brooks and Murray). This strict syllabus structure inflicts unwillingness to learn on students. It implies that by sticking to these rules, they merely give up on developing new skills and abilities, which results in lowered performance. It impacts their cognitive thinking because their brain is exposed to a certain frame.
In general, the idea of applying the Common Core Standards to specific subjects seems unreasonable for its negative impact on the students’ ability to grasp new material efficiently. Suppose the standards for high-school students are not precise, and there is a lack of understanding of how to teach them and provide a decent knowledge base for entering a college. Therefore, these standards are crucial to adjust in case there is a need to boost young individuals’ performance and academic success.
Brooks, Elspeth and Jane Murray. “Ready, steady, learn: school readiness and children’s voices in English early childhood settings.” Education, vol. 46, no. 2, 2018, pp. 143-156.
Hall, Gene E., et al. Introduction to Teaching: Making a Difference in Student Learning. SAGE Publications, 2018.
Polleck, Jody N. and Jill V. Jeffery. “Common Core Standards and their Impact on Standardized Test Design: A New York Case Study.” The High School Journal, vol. 101, 2017, pp. 1-26.
Somma, Ryan. Coding in the Classroom: Why You Should Care About Teaching Computer Science. No Starch Press, 2020.
Tampio, Nicholas. Common Core: National Education Standards and the Threat to Democracy. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018.