The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are a reality that will affect all U.S. schools, and have been adopted by most states. The CCSS Initiative is a joint effort between the U.S. National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). These groups established collaborative working groups to “provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare our children for college and the workforce” (Common Core State Standards Initiative 2012a). Most of the states have accepted the CCSS as the guiding standards document for their state instructional standards.
The mission of the CCSS initiative is to “provide consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy” (Common Core State Standards Initiative 2012b). The stated goals for the initiative in 2009 were as follows:
- Upgrade the standards used by the states to reflect the needed rigor.
- Align the standards with the most rigorous education in the international community.
- Utilize the standards to better prepare teachers for the classroom.
- Provide accountability that will be useful to schools, districts, and states.
- Serve as a basis for assessing students by international benchmarks.
Redding Christian School’s Stance on Common Core
While there are a variety of criticisms regarding the CCSS, there are positive aspects as well, such as a sustained, more thorough approach to reading, developing critical thinking skills and more informational writing. Because RCS is a private Christian school, CCSS will not be imposed upon us allowing us to utilize only the best parts in our curriculum. RCS will take the following approach to Common Core State Standards:
- The philosophical foundations of Christian education will be used to evaluate the CCSS.
- CCSS will be filtered through a biblical worldview as the highest standard, and only align with CCSS to the extent that the school’s mission and worldview are uncompromised.
- The standard’s content and skill statements will be separated into priorities to determine to what degree they match with the school’s grade-level scope and sequence.
- Ensure that RCS’ curriculum exceeds the CCSS.
- We will not adopt the CCSS as a wholesale benchmark for curricular quality at RCS.
- We will use the standards as an informational piece regarding the national and global educational context in which we are preparing our students.