Since its implementation last year, the Common Core curriculum has become one of the most divisive educational issues in New York state in recent memory.
Proponents say that the Common Core State Standards are a new, more in-depth way of teaching students that gives them the skills they need to be ready for college and careers. But those who oppose them say they are too complicated for students and teachers alike, and that they are damaging students’ love of learning.
What is clear is that more and more parents and educators are coming down on the anti-Common Core side of the debate, mainly due to the way the state has botched its rollout of the program.
One of the biggest complaints is that students are being tested too much, and we agree. The state tests at the end of the school year put too much pressure on students to perform. The difficulty of the Common Core only compounds the problem, making students feel frustrated and stressed.
But late last month, Republicans in the New York State Assembly proposed the Achieving Pupil Preparedness and Learning Excellence plan, otherwise known as APPLE, which outlined changes that should be made to the Common Core based on feedback gathered at meetings that were conducted with residents all over the state.
The report makes common-sense suggestions for changes, like slowing down the new curriculum’s implementation. It should be phased in over time and follow a grade through the system. Start with kindergarten, then add first grade the next year, then second grade the next, etc. It would take longer to roll out that way, but students wouldn’t be forced to start learning a new curriculum without having the proper foundation for it.
Also in the report was a recommendation that the state provide more funding to schools to help them create their own curricula based on the Common Core and to provide more professional development for teachers, so they will be more effective at teaching the curriculum in their classrooms.