The incredibly poor implementation of the new educational standards -- the Common Core -- has become a rallying cry for parents opposed to standardized testing and for teachers who question the fairness of being evaluated based upon the common core's more demanding curricula.
This introduction could have, and still can be, successfully accomplished given that most Americans recognize that our schools must become more responsive to international competition for jobs and our nation's future economic well-being, thus the need to upgrade curriculum and to require more from both students and teachers. If our population fails to become more accomplished in the critical academics, especially math and science, the sizable income gap between the top 15 percent and the remaining 85 percent will increase geometrically.
A better implementation process would introduce a gradual, increasing integration of test questions based upon the new standards, thus integrating the traditional statewide student assessment with the evaluation of the more complex common core curriculum. But, most importantly, the correctness of these questions would not be included in any student's score nor in any teacher's performance evaluation. The inclusion of these more complex test questions would familiarize parents, students and teachers with a clear picture of the new expectations.
"Item analyses" of test questions would identify curricular areas needing improved instructional materials, increased time on task, and/or teacher professional development. Teachers would then modify lesson plans; what is tested will be taught.
And, local schools should decide when to begin testing our youngest children, while recognizing that these students, too, must be prepared for the more demanding curricula. Those students identified as "special education" should be tested at their respective educational levels, not based upon their age.
Yes, improving our schools to meet international standards might take a few years longer to achieve, but allaying the fears of students, parents and teachers is more than worth it.