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K-12 core curriculum gets revamped

Mallory Barnhart
Guest Writer
mbritton@lhup.edu

April 17, 2014

The common core curriculum has been implemented at LHU. On Wednesday, local educators discussed the changes with students in Durrwachter Alumni Conference Center.

Educators explained how the core curriculum will provide students with a better education. Core curriculum is now being implemented in districts across Pennsylvania. According to Dean Susan Rimby, this new curriculum will only affect college students in the education major.

“This is a K-12 initiative. We can’t take college students back to high school,” said Rimby. “What we’re going to do is more effectively prepare education majors to teach common core curriculum.”

Rimby explained how the common core came into place. She said that many students move out-of-state to teach. They found that there was either too much overlap between what different grades are learning state-to-state or too much of a gap.

Though this is not a federal government program, Rimby said that 45 out of 50 states have adopted some version of the common core. Though these curriculums differ from state-to-state, they will be more similar to one another than the curriculums in place now.

According to the common core website, the standards are a set of clear and consistent learning goals to help students prepare for college and beyond. These standards were developed based on international models for education, as well as input from state and local education departments. The standards clearly lay out what students are expected to learn in each grade level. They are supposed to help students, parents, and educators get on the same page to ensure students progress through their education so they are prepared for college and careers.

Many educators were in agreement that the critical thinking skills of students were not up to the standards expected in college. Michele Thomas, an instructional coach at Clearfield School District, says the core curriculum will address her concerns.

“The unpreparedness to integrate ideas within disciplines is holding students back. Their critical thinking skills and ability to connect everything are lacking,” Thomas said.

Dr. Julie Story, an education professor here at Lock Haven University, agrees. “Students aren’t as able to access their prior knowledge and then build upon it. They can’t seem to apply their knowledge within different contexts,” said Story.

When asked what she would like to see happen to better prepare students for college, Story wants colleges and high schools to work together more.

“I’d like to see more collaborative leadership and communication between high schools and colleges,” said Story. “Both need to take more responsibility to prepare students for college and the working world.”

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