We are often asked about our stance on Common Core, and how it impacts us as a school. Calvary Christian Academy will not adopt the Common Core standards. We have composed a statement to help parents and prospective parents better understand the issue and our respective position.
Common Core (CCSS) is often misunderstood as a new curriculum, when in reality, it is a broad set of recently established national standards designed to shape and govern general education standards and assessments in public schools. It is not curriculum. Many states, such as California, have added their own set of additional standards to the legislation.
The National Governor’s Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers initiated the new CCSS standards in 2009. The standards aim to create a collaborative foundation across states and districts, eliminating the need for each state to have its own unique set of standards. Public schools are often encouraged, in the form of funding, to adopt these standards in an effort to create uniformity of standards and expectations.
In addition to new standards, Common Core also brings a new standardized test for students. Private school students are not bound by these tests. The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) is writing the new test, which will no longer include multiple choice or true and false questions. Sixty percent of the test will be performance-based tasks and the majority will be performed on computers.
SATs and ACTs have also been rewritten to align with the new standards. The architect of the Common Core, David Coleman, as president of the College Board, led the redesign of the SAT, introduced in 2015.
While educational and instructional trends come and go, Calvary Christian Academy remains committed to classical education and to taking advantage of only those tools that support us in that mission. CCA has lived by this philosophy since our inception.
In the fall of 2015, public schools in California were mandated to implement the new Common Core standards while private schools have the option to implement them in whatever way makes sense for their curriculum and respective academic institutions as a whole.
CCA has a professional responsibility to be familiar with state and national standards, but our focus is on providing students a solid foundation for learning, using the classical education model, as well as preparing students for college and beyond. In a classical model, our aspirations are higher, we pursue more than facts and trivia. Montaigne stated, “Good teaching will come from a mind well-made rather than well-filled.” Using the classical model, we do not view education as filling students only with content and facts, but rather a process of students learning how to learn. William Butler Yeats says it best, “Education is not filling a bucket, but lighting a fire.”
CCA does not intend to adopt the new Common Core Standards and will, thus, be exempt from using the new state tests to assess satisfaction with meeting specific CCSS standards. With respect to college entrance exams, CCA’s college counseling department is committed to working closely with teachers and staff to ensure that our students are well prepared.
For more information, see the following article: World Magazine Article: Uncommon Pushback (Russ Pulliam).