Currently, each state is responsible for regulating and setting standards for public education. Here in Iowa, we look to Iowa Core Standards and school districts' expectations to set goals for our classroom. Many citizens have proposed for parts of the education system to be regulated by the federal government instead of current oversight from the states. One of the biggest points of discussion is a national curriculum or national standards based on current state standards. Below are a sample of some pros and cons to this issue.
The Pros of National Standards:
- Clear guidelines
- No lost information for students that move in between state lines - easy transition for children
- Less expensive
- Focuses on observable behaviors
The Cons of National Standards:
- Potentially increase in testing
- Testing does not always show true understanding of standards
- Focused more on classroom and not individual needs
- Schools have different needs
- Less freedom for teachers
How does this affect you as a teacher? Well, it's important for teachers to be aware of the politics and changes to education. You could look at other states' standards and compare them to your states. How are the standards similar? How are they different? Are certain topics discussed in different grades across the states? Reflect on your research.
Lastly, you can look to other classrooms around the nation for inspiration or ideas for your classroom. For example, a teacher in Ohio is teaching state capitols with his fifth graders using a creative method. Well if you are a third grade teacher in Missouri teaching state capitols, you can learn from his classroom. Don't reinvent the wheel.
For more information:
Image by Massachusetts Secretary of Education http://courtneyjaydebridges.weebly.com/classroom-context.html
Image by Michael Anderson https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Children_in_a_classroom.jpg