Since its establishment in 2009, the Common Core State Standards initiative has faced criticism from teachers and parents alike. While the Common Core Standards weren’t fully implemented in classrooms until earlier this year, many fear that the material is already overwhelming for students.

Heather Kays wrote an article featured in The Washington Times expressing her distaste for the Common Core Standards.

“The Common Core State Standards are academically mediocre at best, according to professors, curriculum experts, child psychologists and many teachers,” Kays wrote. “That is especially true for the younger grades—specifically, K-3—where a mountain of information will be hammered into these young students even though there is evidence such practices do not lead to academic gains that last as students get older.”

While I understand it’s difficult to introduce such a heavy workload on younger students, the fact of the matter is that everyone else is already doing it.

Every three years, 15 year olds in developed and developing countries take The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) as a measure of literacy, math and science comprehension. The U.S. ranked 35th out of 64 countries in math and 27th in science, according to the PISA results from 2012.

If the U.S. wants to remain competitive with China, which ranked first in mathematics, and Japan, which ranked sixth, they have to hold their K-12 students to the same standards.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) offers an in depth look at the results of the PISA and it doesn’t look pretty.

“While the U.S. spends more per student than most countries, this does not translate into better performance,” the report found. “For example, the Slovak Republic, which spends around USD $5,300 per student, performs at the same level as the United States, which spends over $11,500 per student.”

So if the money the U.S. is spending on education isn’t working, what will? Ideally, the Common Core Standards.

These standards would implement a system of learning that requires K-12 students to think critically, as opposed to filling in the bubble that sounds like it’s right.

Common Core Standards will teach students how to solve a problem, explain how they got their answer and find a different way to get the same answer. This allows students to really understand what they’re learning and also increases the likelihood of them using that knowledge for the later years of their education.

The end game for Common Core Standards would be to better prepare students for the extremely competitive work force in the United States. It’s also an opportunity to keep jobs in the U.S.

Perhaps the biggest mountain politicians in the 2008 presidential election had to climb was finding a way to get Americans back to work. The problem was that there were jobs, but big businesses felt that outsourcing jobs was not only the smartest choice economically, but the safest bet.

Year after year, it is only getting harder for people seeking employment in the United States to get hired due to their lack of education.

The time where high school teens left their parents house to find a career is far behind us. A high school diploma is no longer a sufficient level of education for employers.

The Common Core Standards aim to mold a generation of students with a higher level of education to pursue degrees that would allow them to compete with other powerhouses in the fields of English, science and mathematics.

Whether or not this initiative pays dividends is yet to be seen, but I believe Common Core is the step in the right direction for America.

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