We admire school teachers. The good ones put in many more hours than their contracts call for and honestly love their students. They view their career choice as a calling.
That said, parents should be made aware of the tremendous changes underway in Arkansas classrooms. Implementation of the Common Core Standards means major changes to how students are taught.
The Arkansas Board of Education adopted Common Core, calling for the state’s students to learn the same material in the same grades as it is taught in all other states. In the past, states each taught K-12 according to their own individual rules, with no correlation with other states’ course offerings.
The standards are designed to communicate what is expected of students at each grade level. Common Core focus on concepts and procedures starting in the early grades, enabling teachers to take the time needed to teach the concepts and procedures well — and to give students the opportunity to master them.
The national regulations are more rigorous than past Arkansas education standards, and are being phased in. They will greatly impact the teaching of math, English and language arts.
Common Core replaces the common sense and academic failure, No Child Left Behind.
In addition overhauling the curriculum and testing procedures, the testing and teacher evaluations of teachers is changing with the Teacher Excellence and Support System or TESS.
Benchmark tests will be replaced with Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers or PARCC. We are not sure how education officials come up with alphabet soup acronyms like TESS and PARCC.
In addition to preparing lesson plans, teaching students assigned to their classroom and mentoring, teachers are responsible by law for reporting cases of suspected child abuse.
Their workload is growing, not easing.