NC Teacher: Why We Need to Keep the Common Core
I started teaching in 1974. I am preparing seniors for a very different world now in 2014—some 40 years later.
Here are three things my students in 2014 do well:
- Multitask on their devices
- Live in the present
- Take multiple choice tests
- Problem solving
- Critical reading and writing
These last three skills are the heart and soul of the Common Core standards. These standards outline what my seniors need to know and be able to do in order to be successful for college and careers in the 21st-century.
They don't tell me how to teach or what to teach—that's my job.
My students can Google facts and figures all day, but if they haven't mastered literacy skills, they won't be ready for the future. It's my job to help students learn to read like detectives and write like private investigators. It's my job to make them read closely, think deeply, and communicate clearly.
The Common Core standards help me focus on the skills these seniors need to be ready for the next part of their lives. Whether my students eventually diagnose what is wrong with my heart or with the engine in my car, they will be critical thinkers and problem solvers.
The Common Core helps me do my job, so my students will be able to do theirs.
I am frustrated and disappointed by the upcoming vote in our state to repeal the Common Core State Standards. I urge the North Carolina General Assembly and the public to think about the potential fallout from this bill.
Repealing the standards would not only be extremely expensive—it would have a detrimental effect on student achievement and teacher morale. Our students desperately need the 21st-century skills covered in the standards. Not to mention the tireless work our teachers have done over the last four years to adapt curriculum, lesson plans, and assessments to align with these standards.
Rejecting the Common Core—and creating new standards—would put a heavy burden on students, teachers, schools, and districts. Do we really want to risk leaving North Carolina students behind in a rapidly changing world?
Nancy Gardner is a National Board Certified Teacher who teaches senior English at Mooresville Senior High School in Mooresville, N.C. She also serves as Senior Project Coordinator, Chair of the English Department, and member of the Center for Teaching Quality Collaboratory.
Photo by Brad Flickinger. Used with permission.