Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
The Common Core Standards prepare students for a competitive global economy The Common Core Standards do not guarantee improvements in testing on the global scale
The Common Core Standards provide national continuity in education The Common Core Standards straddle the middle ground of education – either better than some states or worse than others
The Common Core Standards are not finding the lowest common denominator to build on, but are in fact designed to build upon the best standards so that even states with successful standards will be taking a step forward in education The Common Core Standards is a program pushed by the government – Adopt the program or no money
The Common Core Standards have been designed to leave room for tailoring to specific state populations (states must adopt at least 85% of the standards, leaving 15% to tweak) The Common Core Standards cannot be tailored to all of the diverse populations of our nation
The Common Core Standards were designed by a diverse group of teachers, experts, parents, and school administrators to reflect aspirations for student achievement and an understanding of the realities of the classroom The Common Core Standards is a program created on ideal situations/aspirations in education by people who have funding and students already ahead of the learning curve

Common Core Standards: Arguments For and Against

Highlights of the Debate

Pros Discussion:

The Common Core Standards (CCS) are evidence-based. Extensive research has been carried out, and many experts have contributed to making the standards excellent. The skills required by the CCS have all been agreed upon as essential, and are based on 21st-Century Skills. The standards are also based on international benchmarks and incorporate the newest educational thinking, and they build upon successful elements already employed in many of the leading states, so that states with successful standards need not worry about taking education a step backward.

The CCS focus on the big picture of what students are expected to learn, as well as on achievements and goals. Teachers do not have to worry that this new system will make their jobs appear unnecessary or “easy,” as they are still in charge of creating ways to teach students the content and skills that the CCS require. The CCS also have built-in room to tailor specifically to the states (adoption of at least 85% is required,) so teachers need not feel that the system is one-size-fits-all for the country.

The CCS are clear and consistent, and provide national (insofar as they are adopted) continuity in education. No longer will children in one state get such a vastly different education than a student in another. The consistency will also aid children whose families move once, or are more mobile. They will not have to readjust their knowledge of what they are expected to learn, and will not arrive at a new school lost and missing information (or being stuck sitting through old information) because their previous school’s curriculum was set up in a completely different order. Needless repetition is removed so that students may progress smoothly from kindergarten to high school graduation without becoming stuck in endless loops of familiar information. Instead, each year will build upon the last as always intended, this time with clear expectations of depth of student thinking and understanding for each level.

Content is balanced against applications so that students will not leave high school either only prepared to theorize and think critically or only be able to apply skills to the real world. Instead, students will be able to think critically about the world around them, and possess applicable skills, making them well-rounded. The standards’ focus on complex texts across disciplines will increase overall literacy and prepare students to engage in critical thinking in multiple disciplines beyond high school.

The CCS are geared toward college and career readiness, and competition in the global economy. The developers acknowledge the varied futures of high school students and do not push one outcome on all students. Instead, the overall goal is readiness to live in a global society and compete in the global economy. The developers understand the effects of globalization and have prioritized educating students in being citizens of the world, not merely the areas in which they currently live.

Cons Discussion:

Comparing Internationally:

  1. Not every nation with common core standards do well testing – Canada does not have CCS and as a nation does well.
  2. Should be more about the “coherence of the system” (Boulard, 16) than what is taught.
  3. Coercion by federal government onto state government – Funds (desperately needed) for following the program.

Standards for whom?

  1. States have a firmer grasp (theoretically) than the federal government on the population being taught.
  2. “Common core standards do not represent a meaningful improvement over existing state standards” (Porter, 24) – higher than some states, lower than others = right in the middle.
  3. Focuses more on the higher-order thinking skill than emphasizing the basics from which this thinking pattern grows.
  4. Ignoring research and technology advances by testing in ways similar to current standards.

It seems that the main reasons for this push for common core curricula standards in education are more closely connected with international competition than with the desire to improve our teaching and learning skills as a nation. While in theory having a national standard for education sounds progressive and full of possibilities for advancement as a society, reality presents a more practical pessimism of the switchover.

Budget has always – and probably will always – be a point of contention and concern for institutes of education. It costs money to educate others, so when the federal government promises money in return for adhering to new educational programs, many schools cannot help but jump through the hoops disregarding the purpose of education in order to maintain numbers and jobs.

Using common core standards in place of improving upon teaching skills and augmenting classroom learning is a mistake. Recent research and all of the advances made in technology fall to the wayside when too much emphasis is focused on making sure that education is taught at a level more numbers of students can reach than upon facilitating the implementation of the research/incorporation of the technology into the classroom.


Boulard, G. (2010). The Common Good?. State Legislatures, 36(8), 10-16. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Hill, R. (2011). Common Core Curriculum and Complex Texts. Teacher Librarian, 38(3), 42-6. Retrieved from Education Full Text database

Kramer, P. (2011). Common Core and School Librarians: An Interview with Joyce Karon. School Library Monthly, 28(1), 8-10. Retrieved from Education Full Text database

Porter, A. C. (2011). In Common Core, Little to Cheer About. Education Week, 30(37), 24-25. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.


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