MASON COUNTY — Since its start, there has been growing controversy over differing opinions concerning the Common Core State Standards.
West Virginia adopted the Common Core State Standards, a set of national, academic standards that are to be taught to students by the end of a set school year, in June 2010, with the intent to begin fully implementing the standards in the 2014-15 school year.
Common Core has been growing increasingly controversial due to vastly differing opinions from both Democrats and Republicans. In the Mason County area, several teachers have developed their own opinions about how the standards are affecting their classrooms.
“Common Core makes me nervous,” said Rachel Reynolds, music teacher and choir director at Wahama Jr./Sr. High School.
Reynolds continued by elaborating on how she believes the new standards left no room for creativity or innovation — qualities she believes are important for students to be college- and career-ready.
Some students are also weary of the new objectives.
“I don’t believe that every student across the country should be held to the same standards,” said Ashley Coon, a senior at Point Pleasant High School. “Though the idea of equality is great, I just feel like it’s not very realistic. Not every kid learns at the same rate, and they shouldn’t be expected to.”
Critics of Common Core, like Reynolds and Coon, are quick to point out the program’s major flaws. Among these are complaints of the program’s lack of consideration on poverty and cultural differences. With such a diverse nation, they argue that one mold for the entire country is not only unfair, but impractical.
But not everyone has a negative outlook on the new standards. Another Mason County high school teacher, Catherine Hamm, reported a completely opposing opinion by saying she was excited about implementing the new standards into her classroom. Where she believed the objectives were previously open-ended, Hamm told of how “clear cut” the new standards were. She also believes the new guidelines have allowed her to “zone in” on the most beneficial and worthwhile objectives.
Both Reynolds and Hamm agreed that the plan has a solid basis and the potential to serve its purpose as a means of boosting the country’s education system. Buth both also conceded that, to be fully effective, the program would have to undergo some modification for the United States to become a leading nation in terms of education.
Though it has already been implemented in 44 states, a recent article from foxnews.com suggested that even supporters of Common Core doubt its longevity. The article also suggested that other states would soon follow the lead of Indiana and do away with the standards entirely.