California public schools will never be the same; tablets will replace textbooks and pencils will go the way of the blackboard, come 2014.
Parents may not even know it’s about to happen, but California is joining 44 other states to launch a new curriculum known as the Common Core Standards.
Adams Elementary School Principal Amy Alzina is convinced the core curriculum is the best fix for what many criticize as California’s failing public education system.
“The state standards is all about filling in bubbles, rote memorization,” said Alzina. “The common core is ‘show why and explain’ and dives down deeper.”
Santa Barbara Unified School District Superintendent Dr. David Cash agrees.
“For example, typically in a secondary student experience, he’ll have a slice of algebra, a slice of world history, slice of English language arts,” said Cash. “In core, there’s more opportunity for those three disciplines to relate to each other.”
Layered lessons and critical thinking.
Geometry won’t just be about angles — expect a lesson in statistics, too. And students viewing a Michelangelo painting, for example, will enjoy threads of literature and physics at the same time.
But not everyone will embrace the classroom change. A major shift in the way educators teach is one of the key complaints about the common core standard. And those not technologically savvy may think twice about teaching.
Orlean Koehle, state president of Eagle Forum of California, a conservative organization, opposes the new core standards for a number of reasons.
Koehle calls it “education without representation.”
“None of our congressmen had an opportunity to vote on this,” Koehle said.
The former English teacher is appalled at the thought of a tablet replacing a textbook.
“What child wants to curl up with a computer manual and go to sleep at night?” the former teacher said.
Koehle also believes California residents will be hit with higher taxes to pay for the technology.
District employees and local educators say teams are still defining the curriculum and trying to figure out the best way to fund the technological transformation. The goal is one tablet per student.
Special training days will be set aside for teachers in June and during summer.