California's New Standards to Shift Learning

Judy Hartnett's picture
Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What students in California's public schools learn today is based on a framework created in 1997 that spells out when students learn multiplication, the states' capitals and other lessons.

But that's coming to an end. Behind the scenes, teachers and administrators have homework of their own, studying a net set of instructional guidelines and a fundamental shift of how they teach and test.

Proponents say the state standards, called Common Core, better match how students learn and better prepare them for college or work.

"With the old standards, kids are learning lots of little bits of information and then quickly forgetting them. Which means we didn't spend enough time learning them well," said Rick Bartkowski, who is training teachers in Common Core for the Stanislaus County Office of Education.

He calls it "a new era in education." But while the bells and whistles will be strikingly new, the focus returns to getting students better at the basics and problem solving.

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