3 Things Teachers Know About Education Standards

Teachers... know things about education standards.

Teachers… know things about education standards.

Even though the *new* Common Core standards were launched in 2009 (six years ago at this writing), they still stump people. Friends complain about them. Facebook friends post rants. Honest complaints exist, and less than honest complaints exist too.

But. The public is suddenly interested in education standards and changes.

Are the standards good?

The common core standards came to the forum, even though most states had education standards for years. People love or hate the Common Core standards (actually, I know no one who loves them), but people are talking about them. To which I say, good. I want the public involved in the education process.

Even if people are angry, at least parents are investing time in them. Parents are bringing these standards to teachers, asking about them. Schools are hosting common core nights. This happened with my kids’ schools. Teachers and administrators answered all questions about the standards, showed how they work, and dispelled common myths. They gave parents tools to work with our kids – to help meet the new education standards.

Parents are reinforcing these standards at home, and a joint venture is happening in education. That, we can all agree, is wonderful.

What do teachers know about education standards that parents don't? Well, parents should be able to access them and understand educational standards! When parents have questions about educational standards, here are some talking points for teachers.

Teachers know about education standards. We studied at a university to know about education standards. They are not new to teachers, but the public has a sudden interest in them. If you’re not part of the educational world, I totally understand where questions come into play.

This isn’t a debate about the Common Core standards though. I appreciate standards, but naturally, I don’t think these standards are perfect. I don’t know a teacher who does. That isn’t the purpose of this post.

As I read complaints, memes, and other blog posts, I see a few misconceptions about education standards. I work in the educational field, so I have a different picture than people who don’t. Sure, I get that, so I wanted to give people three ideas that teachers know about education standards:

  1. Education standards can change. Fast. A common misconception from parents (that I’ve heard!) is that poof! These Common Core standards came from nowhere. That’s not true. Standards have always existed, but they do change frequently.Teachers have had standards for a long time, either from the state or from their school board. These standards can change, just as standards before them changed. When I was in college, I had a notebook filled with state standards. (I’m in Illinois.) When I got my first job? I had a new set. Standards change, and curriculum changes to meet the standards.
  2. Teachers teach most of these standards. For instance, ELA teachers know that when they teach literature, they should teach a variety of literary devices, have students write about literature, and compare one piece of literature to another. Another ELA example? Language: teachers teach the parts of speech, parts of a sentence, types of sentences, and on. What an I saying? Chances are, teachers were already teaching many of these concepts. (Please note, I can only adequately speak to ELA standards.)
  3. Standards can help teacher-parent communication. Many teachers are thrilled about the discussions concerning standards. Parents see what their children are expected to know, and they have opinions. Many times, educators lament that parents aren’t involved. They want to be involved with these standards. Let’s involve them. Hear their concerns. Work to make changes together.

People complain about education standards—post pictures on social media, create Facebook pages about them. The frustration with something new that affects your children—I get that. As a teacher though, I think the public would benefit from asking why does my child need to know this? and not answering themselves with I didn’t learn it that way, I don’t know that and I turned out fine! I don’t think that any educator should respond to a concerned citizen with because I said! Instead, we can hash it out, decide what our students should know. The education standards can catapult into true education reform.

Teachers know things about education standards, and should be willing to answer questions. Educators are taking the time to explain standards. Google “common core standards explained” and thousands of explanations pop up. Educators should keep talking.

These standards aren’t perfect, and I thought the implementation of them was bumpy. When discussing the standards, it seems that many adults have honest questions about them. Asking teachers, who do know a few things about education standards, can only help.

We teachers should be more than willing to help.

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