There are two approaches to conveying information to students in the classroom.
One is the standard: cover the given information, the students read it, they take a test on the information and the grade they receive is their grade. The second is a more comprehensive approach.
The teacher introduces the information and students apply the knowledge to already known information. The students take a test on the information, then the teacher revisits and reiterates the information the students did not comprehend according to the test results.
While the first method covers all of the information in a timely matter, the second method puts the student at the center of learning.
Knowledge of facts and pure memorization are no longer standards of success. We are in the 21st century where information is a couple of clicks away.
We should teach our students to be thinkers who can translate what they discover, process it and use it to find the answer to the problem they are trying to solve.
The old teaching methods of giving lectures, assigning readings and forcing pure memorization no longer apply to the world outside of school. Students are exposed to so much information that we should not be teaching facts. We should teach how to translate the information, which is at their fingertips, into problem solving skills.
The Common Core State Standards have recently been introduced into public schools; Minnesota has elected to not adapt these standards.
These standards teach students how to become 21st century learners and the skills of evaluating, processing and using information. We are no longer a country of simple, solvable problems, and we should not educate our children with simple, solvable ideas. The younger generation needs to be taught concepts they can apply to a variety of different problems.
In order to maintain our technologic edge in the world economy, we need to create students who are college and career ready, meaning we need to create thinkers in our kindergarten through 12th-grade schools.
These standards set a high bar for student success. This theory treats our students as successors, rather than teaching to their level. It will create students who are competitive on the global job market.
We do not compete with people living in our neighborhoods, cities or even states anymore. We are competing for jobs with those in other states and countries. Telecommuting has made it possible for companies to interview and potentially hire people from across the country.
The Common Core State Standards make it so that every child educated in the United States will be taught to the same level. All students will be ready to compete for college placements or jobs after school.
Education is no longer local. The idea that each school district knows what is best for their students no longer applies.
The students from Moorhead will be applying to colleges across the country. They will be competing for jobs with students from other states. The state of Minnesota should, and must adapt the Common Core State Standards to ensure students have a fair chance at success in the 21st century.
BY ANDREW THOMASON