Do our state legislators have a tangible grasp on reality? Their complete inability to understand how difficult it is to change standards within our schools forces me to question otherwise.
Kansas adopted the Common Core Standards in 2010, planning for full implementation by 2014, according to the Kansas State Department of Education, yet Kansas lawmakers are already discussing the need to create new standards for math and English, which also creates fears regarding changes to the new social studies standards that are soon to be implemented.
What angers me most about this change is not that it could potentially cost millions of dollars and take years to create these new standards, but that lawmakers and “education advocates” claim this is in the best interests of the students and teachers. When was the last time any of these people thought about the teachers?
I was put through a rigorous training session in my methods class for social studies, and I will do it again for English next semester, learning how to incorporate these standards into my daily lesson plans. I found how to have students actively engage with primary sources. If I found that I had to actively pursue more real-life scenarios, such as understanding resumes and learn about Greek civilizations at the same time, I would find it difficult to do both adequately.
I know I should not be surprised, however, since this seems to happen every time someone believes that their child is not being taught correctly, or that the standards are not stressing enough of what they consider important. The real reason is that someone is angry and wants to make as much money as possible and then changes everything that we have learned. We, the teachers, have to completely restructure our curriculum to match what they consider the “essential facts” and force our students to begin learning in new ways with new material, possibly creating serious delays in their progress.
We now have to contend with people claiming to be fighting for us and our standards that are destroying our teaching ability, making us spend more time switching policies than actual teaching. If this is our future, who truly wants to be a teacher?