If some early reports on the controversial Common Core Standards are an indication, Hispanic students in the U.S. are falling behind on the very curriculum that was intended to help them achieve higher proficiency in school.
Even though implementation of Common Core Standards are still being phased in throughout many school systems in the country, a new report regarding the state of New York, which recently completed its fourth year of a 12-year Common Core phase-in shows 23 percent of Latinos are proficient in math, while only 19 percent are proficient in English.
Overall, New York students are 36 percent proficient in math and 31 percent proficient in English.
Kentucky is the other state that is utilizing the Common Core Standards, but results from last years school year arent yet available. Expectations are the achievement gap between Latinos and whites will remain high.
National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Deputy VP of Education and Workforce Development Peggy McLeod told VOXXI its way too early for low marks to color the anticipated long-term effect of the Common Core Standards.
Its not the Common Core theyre having issues with, its the implementation of the Common Core, McLeod said. The standards are good, theyre high standards. If implemented correctly, kids will be college and career ready. Its just a matter of providing a robust implementation and strategies specific to Latino kids who might need additional language support.
She pointed out one of the issues during the transition to the Common Core Standards deals with accurately assessing the students academic achievement. Basically ensuring all assessments are Common Core Standards-based and test critical thinking across all academic disciplines.
Another issue involves having teachers receive proper instruction in order to implement strategies that support student learning. Specifically, McLeod suggests the use of careful and consistent professional development to ensure educators are prepared.
The Common Core Standards really change the game for a lot of kids so in general, yes, you would expect to see a period of transition while theyre implemented because theyre really different, McLeod said. Also, the expectations for teachers, administrators and for kids are really different than what we had before.
The other side of the Common Core Standard discussion is its impetus, which is to fix a national education system that failed many largely due to the No Child Left Behind law– a law that more than a decade ago required states to simply improve test scores.
The result ostensibly reduced the curriculum level to get more kids a passing grade–what many antagonistically refer to as teaching kids only to take tests. Now, the Common Core Standards boast a more rigorous curriculum with the purpose of upgrading critical thinking beginning in elementary school.
There are those who are against the Common Core Standards and point to the recent New York figures as proof the academic program doesnt work. Those are also the same people who forget the current educational system isnt serving all students.
When you look at performance, it will all even out if districts and schools provide appropriate services and provide good high-quality instruction, McLeod said. You cant put responsibility on Latino kids or their parents.