by Alayna Press, ’17
Most high schoolers have heard the phrase “Common Core”. But few people actually know what it means. These new state standards that are being implemented in UAHS are also becoming the standards for many schools around the country.
The purpose of the new standards is to give all public high school students an even playing field. In the past, different states have had different standards.
When two seniors apply to the same college from different states, they could have the same grades but different levels of understanding. These inconsistencies are supposed to be mended by the Common Core Initiative. Theoretically, if every state adopts the Common Core standards, then every public high school student will have similar education when applying for colleges.
The new initiatives have hit a few rough patches, however. Between the constant standardized testing and the changes in course curriculum, many students around the country are raising complaints. According to a poll by Education Next, opposition to Common Core has grown by 22 percent in the last two years.
Sophomore Emma Pool took Common Core classes starting in her freshman year.
“I think it’s okay but I don’t like how [the school district] implemented it,” Pool said. “They put our entire class back a year, so to catch up I had to take an online class freshman year.”
One of the biggest complaints that students and parents have is the rigorous standardized testing.
Originally supported by George W. Bush, standardized testing was a part of the No Child Left Behind initiative to keep public schools accountable for their students’ education and success.
Since then, testing has become more and more prominent in public high schools, and become a source of stress for public school students.
According to a Phi Delta Kappa Poll on the Public’s Attitude toward Public Schools, 64 percent of the population thinks there is too much emphasis on standardized testing.
The previous school year was not beneficial for Common Core. An increasing number of states are opting out of the Common Core Initiative all together. The states that haven’t opted out are still having a large number of students opting out of taking the tests.
According to NPR, during the last testing season in Spring, one out of five students in New York opted out of taking the state tests. Students from Upper Arlington also opted out of a state test. Last spring, a number of UA sophomores opted out of taking the PARCC History test.
Pool, however, took the test. “It sucked… there were three people in my class who were actually taking it.” Pool said.
The number of students taking the test was small, because some students didn’t see its necessity.
Another sophomore, Garrett Allaire opted out of the test. Allaire said, “I didn’t want to do it. It didn’t feel needed.”
The fate of common core in future years is shaky. Opposition is growing and more and more students are opting out of the state tests, which skews the data they are meant to collect on national standards. Without the data, the impact of the standards will be hard to quantify. The future of Common Core is not as set in stone as it used to be.