In the United States, The Common Core State Standards Initiative is one of the most powerful educational forces in decades. The Common Core State Standards Initiative is designed to develop shared curriculum standards across the affiliated states—at the point of this writing, 45 of the 50 United States.
There are many good things about the Common Core. In particular, the emphases on critical thinking, logic, research, and mathematical thinking can be important supports for creative thinking and innovation. But here’s my fear. Under pressure to raise the ever-present test scores, schools and teachers may feel compelled to focus their efforts entirely on Common Core standards, with everything else lost in the race toward “accountability”.
But remember what the standards’ authors say, under “What is Not Covered by the Standards.”
While the Standards focus on what is most essential, they do not describe all that can or should be taught. A great deal is left to the discretion of teachers and curriculum developers. The aim of the Standards is to articulate the fundamentals, not to set out an exhaustive list or a set of restrictions that limits what can be taught beyond what is specified herein.
There are few places I can think of in which “the discretion of teachers” needs to be used more wisely. Here are three principles to consider when dealing with the Common Core.
Content linked under each principle is adapted from Creativity in the Classroom: Schools of Curious Delight, 5th Edition. For more information on teaching strategies compatible with creativity, see the Chapters 6-10.