There has been a lot of buzz about the Common Core State Standards coming to schools in Tennessee and it is finally here.
Over the next two years Tennessee will implement CCSS in public schools across the state, and this past July thousands of Tennessee teachers were trained on the higher standards and what the changes mean to them and the children in their classrooms.
Common Core creates equal footing for graduating students in participating states. However, there is one group of students who are near and dear to my heart that will particularly benefit — military-connected children.
To date, Common Core, a state level initiative, has been adopted by 47 states, three territories, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity. CCSS are not a curriculum, but rather a set of standards for states and teachers to ensure that all graduating students are college or career ready.
Essentially, Common Core standardizes expected education outcomes across the country but leaves room for teacher creativity in implementing the standards. For a military-connected student, education standardization is a good thing.
The education of a military child can be likened to a patch-work quilt. Each school is a unique patch in the quilt which, when sewn together, will be representative of a military-connected child’s educational experience. The National Military Family Association estimates that the average military child will move six to nine times during their school years, including two times during high school. That’s a lot of patches.
For these kids, the news is good and bad.
First, the good news: my military family has found that moving can be an exciting experience. Along with the opportunity to “down-size” our life every few years; new countries, cities, cultures, foods and environments keep life interesting. There are always new friends to meet along the way and old friends to re-connect with.
Next, the bad news; these moves mean that kids are changing schools, and mobile military kids may not be meeting standards in their new state. I have heard horror stories from my friends about their children having to repeat a grade or not being able to graduate on time because they have not had a class required by their new state’s curriculum.
The Common Core State Standards help to mitigate this problem.
With CCSS, military kids are coming into new schools prepared for the next year. For example, a student moving from a DODEA school in Germany to a school in Tennessee will have been taught to the same math and language standard as their receiving school.
The Military Child Education Coalition’s CCSS publication succinctly sums up CCSS for military-connected children. CCSS will “provide consistency, continuity, and clear expectations of the knowledge and skills students need in each grade.” Consistency and continuity are key to the successful education of military-connected children.
This is a load off for parents wondering what they will need to do to catch their child up at a new school! As an added bonus, it is one less thing to worry about when moving a family across the country or around the world.
I encourage educators and parents interested in helping to ease the transition of military children into new communities to visit the following websites. Each has fantastic resources for educators and military families alike: