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ERIC Number: EJ1047985
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0145-9635
Consider the Core: Why Independent Schools Shouldn't Ignore the Common Core State Standards
Davies, Andy
Independent School, v73 n2 Win 2014
Independent schools--and their teachers and administrators--are, as the name suggests, fiercely independent. So when the Common Core State Standards hit the national stage in March 2010 and became the center of the national conversation on education, it was no surprise that the majority of independent schools dismissed the standards as another bureaucratic set of hoops that the public school system would need to jump through, but which the author and his colleagues could blithely ignore. The author contends that people tend to dismiss the Common Core standards because the media have focused heavily on two areas of debate regarding the standards. One debate swirls around the principle of the federal government dictating curriculum. The second focuses on the implementation of the standards and the subsequent testing that will drive numerous decisions about students, teachers, and schools. For public schools, and those who care about public schools, both of these conversations matter in terms of how the standards are applied. However, both conversations distract from the actual content of the standards, which in fact can provide a platform for meaningful discussion of curriculum at any school--including independent schools. While this author does not suggest that independent schools blindly adopt the Common Core standards, his experience at Aspen Country Day School (Colorado) underscores the value of reviewing an independent school curriculum in light of the standards. By taking time to review their program through the lens of the Common Core State Standards, they have become more methodical in the design and documentation of their curriculum, more mindful in their differentiation of instruction for a range of learners, and more effective in distinguishing themselves in a market with a strong public school. Having a set of minimum standards does not preclude a school from providing a highly creative and student-centered program. The hallmark of an independent school is the development of the critical thinking, creativity, and compassion essential for students to become positive members of both local and global communities--and that should never change. Considering the Common Core standards is not about trying to look like a good public school. It is about gaining deeper understanding about what independent schools do and how they do it. In the end, the students will benefit--and the school will have a much stronger sense of its identity and purpose.
National Association of Independent Schools. 1620 L Street NW Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-793-6701; Tel: 202-973-9700; Fax: 202-973-9790; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Colorado