SAN ANTONIO - Mayor Julian Castro appeared on the "Today" show Monday to promote his Pre-K for SA initiative. He appeared on the show as part of NBC's ‘Education Nation,’ an effort to improve the education system and make students better prepared for college and careers.
A new methodology called "The Common Core" is changing the way teachers teach and how students learn.
When students at North Carolina's Lincoln Charter School returned this year, their teachers were at the forefront of changes taking place in most American schools. Gone are the days when teachers stood at the front of the class, and students memorized facts and figures. Now students are trying to figure out ‘how’ and ‘why’ using critical thinking skills dictated by the new ‘Common Core’ standards.
"The people who developed the standards were teachers in every state. And they collaborated together to develop those standards,” explained Christy Hutchinson from Lincoln Charter School. “What are the good things and what are the important things that our students need to know, and are they developmentally able to learn them?”
Over the summer, teachers in Baltimore learned new ways to teach. The theory is that modern students have facts at their fingertips, but they need to learn how to analyze problems and work in groups.
“I think it's a new way of looking at the same kind of thing,” said teacher Melissa Madison. “A new way of teaching it, so that students will be college and career ready in a way that maybe we haven't been paying attention to.”
Already adopted by 46 states, the new Common Core standards provide a baseline for what students in each grade need to know. It also allows students across the country to learn the same curriculum at the same time for the first time in history.
But each state and school district will have the leeway to decide what textbooks to use and how to teach each subject.
Virginia officials warned test scores would go down while students get used to critical thinking-focused standardized tests, and they did.
“Lower passing rates should not be an indication of lesser achievement,” maintains Virginia State School Superintendent Patricia Wright. “I have full confidence with the scores that we released today that teachers have been working hard and students have been working hard.”
Experts say standardized test grades will go back up, but urge patience as decades of how students are taught and how they learn changes.
Education Nation is a three-day event. You can check out the summit for yourself at educationnation.com
.The Common Core State Standardswww.corestandards.orgEducation Nationeducationnation.com