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Common Core and common core – Works in Progress.
Guest Author: Ted Kraver, Ph.D.
We can find a common core for any entity or process. Steel making requires a common core of iron ore and carbon and specific furnace heat temperatures over time. Aircraft require propulsion, stability and control, lifting wings, load carrying structure, and places to land and takeoff. Clocks must deliver time information in as readable data. K-12 education Common Core standards are driving changes in curriculum, assessment and practice changes of one AZ SciTech Festival STEM aspect: mathematics. Vital to STEM education, English language arts will also be changed by Common Core.
I attended meetings in our nation’s capital several years ago where educators and policy wonks from many states presented their work on the Common Core project for math and English. The Next Generation of Science Standards draft was released in 2013 by a consortium of 26 states including Arizona supported the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and National Research Council. This work furthers the AZSciTech mission on a broad basis by also integrating engineering design with scientific inquiry. The Science standards are aligned with Common Core math and English implementation.
There has been a political hullabaloo in Arizona about Common Core being pushed on the states from the federal level. Not so! Common Core was created by state educators and national associations and adopted state by state, as it should be.
Common Core addresses only part of the common core of our K-12 education system. This interlocked and transforming system has seven major entities: federal/national, state, county/regional, district/charter operator, school, classroom, and nexus of student/parent/teacher. Our K-12 education system has a very complex common core plays out over three infrastructures: physical, intellectual and governance. Physical includes facilities and equipment, broadband telecom, data storage, and computer based interfaces. Intellectual includes digital curriculum, decision support real time assessment, and education and training for highly skilled and knowledgeable teachers and leaders. Governance addresses statutes, rules, research, standards and champions of innovative transformation.
Common Core standards have an approximately ten year cycle from birth to maturity, and 2014 is the midpoint year. Broadband connectivity and data has been championed for two decades by a number of governance entities including non-profits. Arizona is now recognized as a leading state. Plans are in place for a final push from the Arizona Strategic Enterprise Technology Office. We could have broadband to every student learning interface by 2019. Arizona’s Department of Education has a US leading data system that is being extended to schools to support teacher-student learning nexus with real-time decision support. Districts and schools are building on their long time experience with sparsely populated desktop and laptops to embrace emerging technology of touch-pads. Low weight, cost and power will eventually provide every student school and home with an effective learning interface. Like railroads and highways, the physical infrastructure of education must be in place to enjoy the fruits of the intellectual infrastructure. Arizona leads the nation adopting K-12 physical infrastructure.
But to seize this opportunity Governance infrastructure must enact and fund supporting statues, rules and standards that support K-12 innovation across all of the common core areas. Teachers and leaders need tech-industry level of investment for their education, professional development and training including by tech-industry compensation levels. Pathetic federal research funding for digital curriculum must be increased by a factor of 20 if the national education industry is to produce effective individualized digital curriculum with integrated decision support for all 150 of the current courses taught within the K-12 spectrum. System champions must arise and collaborate if a century old system education is to transform for the next century.
Common Core is leading the charge to initiate the transformation of K-12 educations common core. Is the tipping point upon us? We will find out during the next 5 years.