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Why we need Common Core: I choose ‘C’

• Cari Miller


This video illustrating why we need Common Core State Standards hits the ball out of the park!  It emphasizes the important need for kids to learn, think critically and do required coursework and underscores the fact that test-taking short-cuts don’t work and certainly won’t prepare students for college or the workforce.

The video hits all bases while rounding third base for home plate:

  • The test prep scandal – teachers focusing on test-taking tips, rather than actually “teaching” our students. The Common Core will change the way our teachers teach, and how our kids learn, as well as how they are assessed. More sophisticated assessment systems are being designed to assess student application of real-world problems. The process of elimination will no longer be a test-taking “trick” that can be given to students, which means more time for quality instruction.
  • “Fluff” writing – The most popular forms of writing in our schools is based on a student’s feelings, personal experiences, or opinions. The Common Core shift the focus from developing a response based on feeling to purposeful writing that uses text evidence to support reasoning and building and defending arguments. Employers are most likely to hire someone based on their ability to clearly convey complex information, draw conclusions and make recommendations based on facts, not feelings.
  • Living in silos – working in silos regurgitating information through PowerPoint in content area classrooms in hopes that students remember the information, rather than having students actually read text, think critically about and analyze the text, and walk away with deep understanding of the content on their own. For example, instead of memorizing historical facts, students will evaluate the trustworthiness of multiple perspectives on historical issues presented in text read, and make historical claims backed by textual evidence.
  • Spoon feeding students – Kids will be required to think ON THEIR OWN, rather than depending on classmates and the teacher for information. The Think-Pair-Share example highlights the fact that many students have difficulty with critical thinking independently. There is a lot of hand holding and spoon feeding taking place in our schools. While good intentioned, it does a complete disservice to our students. This practice never allows students to struggle and work through that struggle on their own, and therefore they aren’t given a chance to truly critically think about, analyze and apply what was learned.


Video Credits:

R. N. Gutierrez
8th Grade ELA
Nellie N. Coffman Middle School
Palm Springs Unified School District


About the author

Cari Miller

Cari Miller serves as Policy Director of Early Literacy for ExcelinEd. She works hand in hand with states pursuing a comprehensive approach to K-3 reading policy, and she supports state departments with effective policy implementation. Cari is a former elementary teacher and reading coach. She also served as the Deputy Director of Just Read, Florida!, Governor Jeb Bush’s statewide literacy initiative. At Just Read, Florida!, she served in other capacities, including: Elementary Reading Specialist, Director of Reading First and Director of Elementary Reading. Her sole mission is to improve student reading achievement across the nation.