Future of CCSS uncertain in Pennsylvania

Posted on Monday, 6/3/2013 4:49 PM

The introduction of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is among one of the biggest overhauls of K-12 education in the U.S. in recent memory. The CCSS aim to more thoroughly prepare students across the country for the realities of college and the workforce, and while most states have embraced the standards as a means of getting children ready for the rigors of higher education and a competitive job market, some states have begun to backpedal on their implementation strategies. According to The Associated Press, nine states have expressed concerns about their present CCSS timelines and what the standards mean for education.

Concerns in the Quaker State
The news source reports that Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett asked education officials to confirm that the CCSS are not a uniform, one-size-fits-all approach to implementing national guidelines at the state level. The situation has become increasingly complicated and no less controversial due to the fact that some academic leaders have sought to combine the standards with existing educational guidelines that have been used for the past 14 years. Despite Corbett's concerns, it appears that the existing CCSS implementation regulations will not affect the stipulation that students' standardized test scores will be tied to the CCSS.

Elsewhere in the country, the CCSS have proven a thorny subject for policymakers. In Alabama, Kansas and South Carolina, for example, state officials have tried unsuccessfully to block the implementation of the standards, but public pressure is mounting for lawmakers to intervene.

Mixed signals
Whether officials and educators love them or hate them, there is little doubt that the CCSS have the potential to equip students with the skills and knowledge they will need to succeed in college and the 21st-century workforce.

In many states, the introduction of the CCSS will mean greater access to student software and other technological aids that can greatly enhance the quality of education children receive. The use of tablets in classrooms can make mathematical content significantly more engaging through the use of interactive computer programs and visually stimulating digital material, and can bring English language arts content to life with digital texts that incorporate video and multimedia.

With the deadline for CCSS implementation fast approaching, the need for lawmakers and educators to reach a compromise on the standards is rapidly becoming more urgent. Ultimately, students are the ones who will benefit from this framework, and pupils who have access to the latest student software could find themselves at a considerable advantage over those who do not.

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