Common Core Standards Are Improving The Future Of America

Common Core Standards Are Improving The Future Of America

You probably don't even realize what Common Core is accomplishing because you're too busy complaining about it.

You probably hear this phrase and groan. You think of the fact that elementary math is changing in methods of multiplication or sentence mapping is completely dumb, because you learned it differently, and you turned out okay.

NEWS FLASH: "You" do not represent the entire demographic of students across the United States.

Do you know what Common Core is? Probably not.

Common Core is a way to level the playing field across America in order to make education equal regardless of school district income, or region in which you live. Especially in the sense that kids across America are competing for scholarships and admission to colleges, it is important that we have equal opportunities.

A school district in an inner city, where standardized test scores will determine whether or not they are a credited public school on a year to year basis obviously has less opportunities or advantages than school in a suburb that often attracts higher income families that produce more tax revenue for that school. Why should a kid born in a low income part of America automatically be less entitled to a quality education than a suburban student? Hint- they should not.

Common Core Standards have been implemented in many countries around the world, including France, one of the most successful examples. Unlike what most people think, it does not bring the bar of what students should be leaning to the "lowest common denominator" and it does not barre children from learning more than what the standard is set at, or what the class average is.

The problem with these misconceptions is that sometimes, this does occur. But Common Core is going to take time, perhaps even a generation to fully be effective as it was intended to. Until we see a crop of students go from Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade with only Common Core Standards, we will not be able to truly assess and fix problems.

Does that make it a poor institution, it so bad that we should throw it away? To that I say, good things take time. We cannot expect to fix the problems we see in education throughout the course of even 4-5 school years. That's unrealistic.

But let me guess, your parent, cousin, sibling, grandma, aunt/uncle is a teacher, and they think Common Core is a waste of time, and ruins the way they have learned how to teach when they were in college.

Common Core is going to require several steps, and several versions of itself to be perfected. Teachers are constantly working with state and federal governments to help improve this system. Is any teacher perfect, and has all the answers? No, of course not, and obviously not on a 50 state basis. People complain that these standards tell teachers what to teach. This is also false. Common Core tells teachers what needs to be covered in a school year. The way teachers go about doing this is up to them, and their own school board.

Some school boards may be handling the Common Core poorly, and ineffectively, thereby deeming this institution worthless, but that is not the fault of the program, it is the fault of the school district.

Open your mind to the endless possibilities of what Common Core Standards can do for students in this nation. Work towards making things better, not remaining stagnant, or complacent. The future of our country lies within our students, it's time we start setting this future up for success.

Cover Image Credit: State Impact NPR

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.

What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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Sorry People, But #BelieveWomen Is #UnAmerican

Presumption of innocence is a core American value


There's a saying: "Lack of faith and blind faith - both are equally dangerous". Believing sexual assault accusers who are women just because they are women besides being the very definition of sexist - prejudice based on sex - is setting a harmful precedent on the way justice is served in this country. See, what this movement has done is changed justice from "prove guilt" to "prove innocence", an important and incredibly dangerous difference. Where is the due process that our Founding Fathers envisioned, fought, and died for?

Due process is an integral part of the reason why we have the United States of America. It was so important to our Founding Fathers that they included it in the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eight (the Bill of Rights), and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution. It galls me to see how privileged modern day feminists are - so privileged they seemingly forget the freedoms this country affords them, so they may live their life, expect liberty, and be unhindered in their pursuit of happiness.

#BelieveWomen is a vigilante movement - and with vigilante justice the innocent always hang with the guilty, one of the very reasons for due process. I've heard the argument it's better to let innocent men rot in jail than have rapist men walk free, an argument, despite being incredibly moronic and unAmerican, that would not be made if the accused was a man close to the woman's heart. Because with the change to "prove innocence", the assumption will be guilt, and a confirmation bias will be created. Whereas if the assumption is innocence, the jury must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime has occurred. I understand that a high percentage of rape accusations are truthful (I believe the number is in the high 90s), but the small percentage that are not means we cannot, in good conscience, assume guilt. To assume would damn some men to a fate they do not deserve, a fate they would have to endure simply because of their sex. Any real feminist should be appalled at how sexism is implicitly encouraged in this movement.

If you choose to #BelieveWomen in spite of everything I outlined, that is your prerogative, but you must #BelieveAllWomen. If your father, husband, boyfriend, or son gets accused, you must #BelieveWomen and stand with their accuser. Any less and your feminist privilege will show. Vocal #MeToo activist Lena Dunham has already shown her privilege - accusing actress Aurora Perrineau of lying about being assaulted by her friend Murray Miller. When the going gets hard, feminists rarely stick to their principles. And sadly, feminism - and the double standards it always brings - rears its ugly head once again.

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