New system will bring drastic changes

America’s educational system will never be the same.

In the past, the national educational system has always been based on the state and local levels. This will all change with the new standards, known as the Common Core State Standards, which will essentially synchronize schools on a national level primarily in two subjects: Mathematics and English.

Currently, 45 states, including California, have already adopted the new system. Though California will fully implement the Standards by the beginning of next year, some minor alterations will continue to be made due to the state’s population and demographics. These changes will include more focus on career readiness and language skills. Several faculty members at Diamond Bar High School have already attended various training sessions to prepare for adapting to the Common Core system.

“I’ll have to not only teach chemistry concepts but reading skills. As the year goes on, I think it will make the student more well-rounded. It will shift the teacher from being the sole source of information to the student also having the skills to read things on [their] own,” science teacher Jose Marquez, who attended the training, explained.

These pending educational guidelines were assembled by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, the Council of Chief State School Officers and other school-affiliated workers to set a national benchmark for students regardless of region.

According to the Common Core Standards website, the goal of this change is to provide a consistent, clear understanding of the subjects in school and to prepare the upcoming generations for tasks relevant to the real world. Having an easy-to-follow academic agenda will allow teachers and parents to focus on the students’ progress and easily assist their students.

“The former set of standards was a mile wide and an inch deep, and this set of standards is being described, metaphorically, as a mile deep and a little narrower,” Instructional Dean Julian Rodriguez stated.

This academic shift will also steer mathematics toward a more conceptual approach of  the subject. With that objective in mind, the system hopes to help students truly understand their calculations instead of just requiring them to simply memorize formulas and fail to grasp the reasoning behind these mathematical concepts.

The Standards will also emphasize literacy in regards to college and workplace expectations, thus adequately preparing the nation’s youth for the future. For instance, the new literary standard will allow sixth graders and above to focus on a specific area of interest, such as a respective career, and the literary skills, such as reading, writing and speaking, necessary for that particular field. Hence, the new guideline affects not only English classes, but also history, science, and other technical subjects. Furthermore, the Standards will teach students how to dissect the vast amount of information available in this print and digital age.

In fact, the familiar STAR test that California students take every year will also be modified. This annual, routine test shifted from the traditional paper-and-pencil STAR test on multiple subjects to a computerized language and math test when Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 484 earlier this month.

Rodriguez explained that the new focus will be on “preparing for colleges and career, not colleges or career—I’m really excited about that.”