As the new school year draws near, students and parents may be surprised to discover that a new curriculum has been implemented in Georgia for the 2012-13 school year.
The Common Core State Standards Initiative, commonly called Common Core, has been adopted in 46 states, without the input or direction of the Federal Government. These new sets of standards are designed to create students who are able to think critically, compete and excel in the global job market, and become better citizens.
Georgia adopted the new standards in July, 2010. Teachers have been training on the new standards and how to teach them to their students since May, 2011.
The new curriculum is expected to mold students who are "college and career ready." According to the 's website, "college and career readiness" can be defined as:
...the content knowledge and skills high school graduates must possess including, but not limited to, reading, writing communications, teamwork, critical thinking and problem solving – to be successful in any and all future endeavors.
To this effect, curricula from Kindergarten to twelfth grade are being adopted that adhere to the new standards. According to a Georgia Department of Education press release found at The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, some of the following changes will be made:
• Fourth-graders will tackle adding and subtracting fractions, which was not taught until fifth-grade under the former curriculum.
•Under Georgia Performance Standards, students were taught pronoun-antecedent agreement (Emily went to the store. She (as opposed to he or it) bought some cereal.) in seventh-grade. Common Core will teach that grammar rule in third-grade.
The new focus of learning will be critical-thinking based of literature reading and examination. Instead of regurgitating information on exams, students will be expected to dissect larger passages and construct essays to defend their arguments.
An example question may ask a student to rewrite the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears from the bears' perspective, making the student absorb and transform the information that he or she reads into a new narrative that is in line with the original story.
These writing requirements will cross over to mathematics, as well as English/Language Arts fields.
“These standards will better prepare our students for success beyond high school and allow us to see how we measure up against other states,” said state School Superintendent Dr. John Barge in the press release. “Also, because we are such a transient society, these standards can help ensure some level of consistency in what is taught from state to state.”