Currently, there is some controversy surrounding the Common Core State Standards; unfortunately, this controversy and debate has created more questions than answers for many people. Because we are committed to being knowledgeable about all information that impacts our students, we want to assure you that we have explored the Common Core. Thankfully, as a private Christian school, FCA is not legally mandated at this time to adopt the Common Core or any other state standards.
Common Core is a set of academic standards currently written for Language Arts and Mathematics. Standards for education are not new; schools have been aligning instruction to state standards for many years. What is new, and quite a shift from previous state standards, is the fact that Common Core standards are being adopted by many states across the nation. Some people feel this initiative is open to potential corruption from textbook publishers, corporate sponsors, educational interest groups, and government bureaucracies. The debate and controversy (much of it political in nature) is taking the focus off the intended purpose of education: student success.
The Common Core State Standards specify what students should be learning at each grade level in Language Arts and Math; Common Core is not a curriculum. Because FCA incorporates a Biblical Worldview into academics, FCA could not and should not adopt the Common Core as a single source for instructional standards. We would be remiss, however, if we did not consider them, along with other state of Ohio standards. Our teachers need to know what is included in the Common Core standards and Ohio’s academic content standards because our students are required to pass certain state of Ohio assessments to graduate and they need to master 21st century technology skills.
As a private Christian school, we consider a large variety of resources when developing a scope and sequence for instruction and curriculum materials, and at the heart of all of those materials remains our most important resource, the Word of God. Academic rigor has always been part of FCA’s mission, and as we reviewed the Common Core we were affirmed in our belief that in many areas our standards exceed those outlined in Common Core.
The Association of Christian Schools International, of which FCA is a member, has created a position statement about Common Core. We encourage you to read this statement; it does a good job of offering a brief explanation of Common Core and some general comments about the ways Christian schools should consider these new standards.