Education Wednesday: Getting Involved in the Common Core Debate
Being active in the Common Core debate is vital to ensuring our learners receive the educational support they need in school. As parents, teachers, and students we must join the conversation, educate ourselves on this national reform initiative, and begin to take action. Whether or not you support the Common Core State Standards, I will share ways for you to get involved in your child’s education.
Over the past months the Common Core debate has become increasingly controversial. Supporters of the plan agree more rigorous learning standards should be implemented in schools across the country. However, critics of Common Core still question the good it will do to improve outcomes for students.
Outside of policy circles, parents and individuals are increasing their presence at the local level to sway the Common Core debate. It is everyone’s duty to protect the needs of our students, and there are many ways to get involved in your community:
5 ways to get involved in Common Core:
- Become an advocate: Representing the interests of students is increasingly a necessary role for parents as more educational topics become politicized. Advocates play an important part in making issues visible to decision-makers and adding a real face to problems. To start, familiarize yourself with major points of your cause, identify who the key stakeholders are in your community, and begin sharing your story. For a step-by-step guide to becoming an advocate check here.
- Join the PTA: Being active in Parent-Teacher Associations within schools or even the national organization is a great way for parents to access information, connect to resources, and meet people involved with the issues. PTA meetings are also a good place to share interests or concerns about changes taking place in your child’s education.
- Contact Elected Officials: As laws and policy decisions pass that impact your child, applying pressure to local and state public officials is a direct way to be active in the Common Core debate. Call your Representative’s office regularly, send emails, and write letters. For added impact, organize a task force of parents, teachers, friends, and family members to join your efforts. When officials hear from their constituents they are much more likely to act.
- Educate your neighbors: A recent Gallup poll found that only 45 percent of public school parents had heard of Common Core. Educate those around you about the pros and the cons of Common Core, and start the conversation about what you as individuals can do to help.
- Connect with local nonprofits: Nonprofits are often the bridges between political decision-making and on-the-ground action. Look for a local think tank or nonprofit working on your side of the debate and join their efforts as a volunteer.
A Tennessee student recently addressed his state board of education detailing the harm he thought the new standards would do in constricting teachers in the classroom. Conversely, parents in Monterey, CA met to discuss how the standards they support will be implemented in schools.
Drawing from these examples, we can have a profound impact in schools when we remain active in our students’ education. Being involved in hot debates such as Common Core is so important because these are the issues that ultimately affect their later success. As the debate over the new state standards continues, take a stand and do your part to advocate for the education your child deserves.
An education policy wonk at the Georgia Center of Opportunity, Aundrea Gregg holds a Master’s degree in Social Policy and Planning from the London School Of Economics and a Bachelor’s in Classical Civilizations and Political Science from Howard University. She also is a nail painting enthusiast and writer living in Atlanta, GA. Connect with Aundrea on Twitter or Google+.
Edited by: Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.How are you participating in the Common Core debate?