Most adults reading this post completed their K-12 schooling during the BC (Before Core) education era. All the ed reform leaders and data driven evangelists were also educated long before the “Core” and ironically some of them did not even complete their formal education such as Bill Gates who dropped out of college to pursue his interests and passions.
The Common Core‘s emphasis on grade level standards and student proficiency reveals a fundamental flaw in the rigid design and assessment of the standards. The only way one can explain the frantic “race” to implement the “Core” and raise academic standards is that Common Core evangelists believe the acquisition and development of math, reading, writing, and critical thinking skills is limited to the years or “window” of K-12 education.
In fact, many of us continued learning long after we graduated high school. Our math, reading, and writing skills continued to strengthen and in many cases we “caught up” with, and even surpassed, the skills of some of our classmates who may have out performed and outpaced us in school.
For most of us today our success on the job has had very little to do with our reading level in 4th grade or math proficiency in 6th grade. We are successful employees today because we continue to adapt to changing job requirements and are always willing to learn new skills.
The qualities and skills that make us valuable employees include; creative problem solvers, attentive listeners, good decision makers, we can teach others, learn from others, follow directions, take initiative, good public speakers, honest, passionate, flexible, self-reliant, persistent, resilient, etc…
Ironically, our students will actually be less prepared for the real “tests” in life and the diverse challenges of college and careers precisely because the Common Core focuses on testing a very narrow and shallow academic skill set rather than cultivating an expansive and robust set of academic, social, and emotional skills that will enable and empower our students to be life-long learners and leaders, just like ourselves.