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Common Core Education Standards Rolled Out Early In Chula Vista

Children raise their hands in class.

Aired 6/23/14 on KPBS News.

Educators say criticism of the Common Core initiative for schools can be chalked up to confusion about what it really is.

The Common Core Initiative, which sets national curriculum standards in math and English, will be changing the look of homework and teaching in California this fall.

The change has been praised and vilified, and many parents and students don't seem to know exactly what to expect from the new effort. At least one school district in San Diego County, however, is ahead of the game.

Every school district in the county has been working to get ready Common Core standards, but the Chula Vista Elementary School District rolled out the standards early.

“We’ve just gone Common Core 100 percent from the very beginning of the year,” said Dr. Jeffrey Thiel, the district’s executive director of operations and instruction.

“Two years ago, we did K-1, which means we told teachers and we worked with teachers, saying … instead of looking at your California state standards, we want you to look at Common Core standards and base your instruction off of those standards.”

Common Core is aimed at teaching students to think critically and reason through problems. Some parents and lawmakers roundly criticize it, saying it is unnecessary or a plot by the federal government to seize control of education. Mostly, parents complain that it will add stress to students’ lives — and their own.

Thiel said much of the criticism can be chalked up to the confusion that comes with any major change, which Chula Vista Elementary School District has addressed with training.

“Teachers are really pretty excited about it. Parents as well — the more parents find out about it, and the more training we have done with parents, the more on board they have been.”

Thiel said the goal of the Common Core curriculum is to help with deeper understanding rather than rote memorization, and students are thriving.

“We showed a kid this problem and the fifth-grader said, 'Now I know that when you divide by a fraction, you get a bigger number!' So, like, if you’ve got 5 divided by one-half, the question is: How many halves are in 5? And the answer’s 10, right?

“But if you don’t ask yourself that question and you just do it as a procedure and you flip and multiply and get 10, they don’t know what’s going on," Thiel said. "But if you show them what’s going on, and just ask it as a question, you don’t even have to do the procedure.”

The Common Core State Standards Initiative was developed by a group of governors and education experts. It is a state-led attempt to standardize education across the country.

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Avatar for user 'xwagner'

xwagner | June 23, 2014 at 9:23 a.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

Oh, really? This sounds like someone sitting inside in a windowless room writing about how blue the sky is. Teachers detest "Common Core". It's yet another top-down idea, in the style of Mao Tse Tung et cetera. FOLLOW THE MONEY. And don't buy a single word about how "Common Core" was developed WITH teachers or WITH school districts. It was cooked up IN SECRET by a very small group of The Usual Suspects and then imposed and/or sweetened with promises of cash to get school districts and states to go along with it. Several states have completely rejected the idea so far. The more you learn about "Common Core," the less you will like it!

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | June 23, 2014 at 10:51 a.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

xwagner you are correct. The purpose of the common core is to indoctrinate and condition people to live in a socialist state, depending on the government for housing, food, jobs, healthcare, everything we currently work for. People will expect to have the necessities of life handed to them. They already do, but it will get worse.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | June 23, 2014 at 12:39 p.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

If parents truly care about their children's education and future, they will send them to private schools and will go to any length and effort to pay for it. I know I am.

It can be done.

If not, skip the terrible public schools and send your kids to work in the fields. At least they'll learn a practical skill.

Otherwise you'll end up with lazy kids with no practical skills who think they're entitled to live off government handouts or your couch. Probably both.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | June 23, 2014 at 3:03 p.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

California - Could not have said it better myself.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | June 23, 2014 at 3:45 p.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

JOHN MARKKK, considering all your fallacies and preposterous assertions (see your past comments) on this on other news stories: animal cruelty, federal spending, immigration, etc., it is obvious you were never taught to think critically.

Note: I am neither defending nor promoting "common core."

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | June 23, 2014 at 4:29 p.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago


Wow, you insult people even when you have no opinion.

I'm surprised you have none as this is a pretty important issue. I'd say the most important as it affects everything in life.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | June 23, 2014 at 4:32 p.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

Because I told the truth about the common core and the public education system in general, I lack critical thinking skills? Isn't it better to realize what is happening than to blindly say "the state knows what is best for me"

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | June 23, 2014 at 8:12 p.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

Back your statement with evidence, John Markkk. PLEASE explain in detail to us how it will "indoctrinate" students into the "Socialist state"???

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