Finding Common Ground on the Common Core {Series}


We know that opinions and experiences with Common Core vary widely.  In this series, our contributor is sharing his thoughts on Common Core.  Please note that his opinions and thoughts do not necessarily reflect Cincinnati Moms Blog’s opinions as a whole.  We welcome productive and respectful conversation from our readers on this subject in both the comments section below as well as on our Facebook page.

In addition to being a parent, I am also a middle school teacher at Alliance Academy, (in my opinion) one of the fastest improving and fastest growing inner-city charter schools Cincinnati has to offer. A student who arrives in my class reading several grades below grade level, can reasonably expect within a year or two in my reading class, to graduate eight grade reading at or above grade level. This is an accomplishment that I am proud of, and I have years’ worth of data to support these claims, but I’m not here to brag about myself.

I bring that up; because other teachers will ask me what I am doing that allows my students to get these gains in my classroom. It can be hard to put into words, but I can attribute my success in the classroom to a couple of things; a strong and supportive administrative team, my firm understanding of the material that I am teaching, my knowledge and experience regarding teaching in an urban setting, the ability to create a stable environment for my students, and the early implementation of the common core standards in my classroom.

CC1That last one might catch you a little bit off. Especially when you consider the types of articles you normally see about the Common Core standards, especially in the blog-o-sphere. We’re seeing tons of posts from parents complaining about the mounds of homework being sent home, the assignments and methods that don’t seem to make any sense. We hear people complaining about “Obama-Core” and a government control over education. In the past two years or so we have seen a portrait of the Common Core being painted by politicians, parents, bloggers and even comedian Louis C.K.

The problem is, a lot of these articles and posts are just plain wrong. Not only are they wrong, but they are based around a complete lack of understanding of what the Common Core State Standards are and what they are supposed to do.

After reading an editorial bashing the Common Core standards in another Cincinnati parenting publication, I figured it was time to try and put some information out there that was actually useful to parents and families. Instead of offering criticisms, complains, misunderstandings and confusions on the subject, I want to scrape all of that away and get to the center of the issue, the central facts and realities about Common Core.

So, before I begin, I want to say the following things. The things I am going to talk about in regards to the Common Core are not simply my opinion. I might interject statements of opinion into my explanation, but every such statement of opinion will be supported by factual information. The goal is to provide parents and readers with the facts. I am not trying to get you to fall in love with the Common Core. What I want are parents to read something more informative and useful than, “my kid sure has a lot of homework that I don’t know how to do, and it’s all Common Core’s fault.” While I don’t consider myself an expert on common core (for reasons I will explain later) I have sat through an absurd number of planning meetings, training sessions, and common core implementation conferences, enough to talk on the subject with confidence. I have worked with it enough to understand what it aims to do, what it does well, as well as where it is falling short.

I envision this as a short series which covers the following topics…

What Is The Common Core?
Finding Common Ground on the Common Core
Why the Common Core?
The Problems with Common Core: The Myths and Realities Part One and Part Two

Stay tuned for more posts to come over the course of this month regarding my experience and perspective of the Common Core.  As this series progresses, I would love to get feedback from concerned and interested parents or fellow teachers. I will gladly and openly respond to questions as best I can.


  1. Thank you for this series. As a fellow teacher I agree with how necessary this is. I have had my fair share of “common core’s not so bad” conversations and read plenty of articles trashing it and ending confused, because the common core being discussed is not the common core I’m using in my classroom. I’m looking forward to it:)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here