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Common core was introduced at the beginning of this school year in St. Johns County, FL.
I have 3 boys in Common Core (CC) Programs...
The oldest is in 9th grade and the twins in 6th grade. The most important part of CC that I saw in the parent orientation sessions was the emphasis on critical thinking. The examples given in these sessions focused on more complete answers to question prompts and even broader questions. I was impressed and I still feel that it is a step in the right direction.
There is also an emphasis on improved teacher-student- parent communication. The county school system has implemented a web communication system called Edmodo. Students can direct homework and other questions to their teachers and the teachers are very responsive to these queries. The teachers can also use this system to remind students about homework, provide study guides and other material to the students. This seems to work much better than the structured websites that they were using before. Those sites may not have been very user friendly because some teachers did not update them very well. Edmodo has a facebook like interface that seems to be pretty easy.
The last I read about it, the big testing contract still has not been awarded in Florida. I imagine the Guv’ is just trying to negotiate the best deal for ummmm…. Himself probably but that’s not a big deal in the big picture, he’s going to do that anyway.
Having textbooks on-line isn’t such a big deal either, it’s the future and the kids are adapting well.
From what I have seen, it all looks like a very positive development. I read through all the comments in Laura Clausen’s FP diary on CC and everyone seemed to have ideological issues with CC and not one examined the impact on students and their learning experience. I think CC offers an important framework that enhances teacher effectiveness and provides an integrated structure that supports and does not diminish what the teachers have been doing all along. My wife and I are involved in our children’s education and we both see this as an improvement.