Apr 8, 2012 - Weekly Reflection    1 Comment

Week 12: Blog Post: The changing purposes of American education

What struck me in Chapter 13 the Changing Purposes of America was the emphasis on relating K-12 reform efforts to Higher Education.  Indeed, I see education as a pipeline to prepare students to become life long learners and engaged citizens.  As a pre-service teacher I am truly witnessing the evolution of education policy and will eventually experience “the shift of the pendulum” (Ornstein, Levine & Gutek, 2011). The beliefs concerning the purpose of education is in the midst of transformation and inevitably catapulting us into embracing the 21st century education.

The Education Trust is an example of a contemporary 21 century reform group that relates K-12 achievement to post-secondary student success.The mission of The Education Trust is to promote ‘high academic achievement for all students at all levels—pre-kindergarten through college. Our goal is to close the gaps in opportunity and achievement that consign far too many young people—especially those from low-income families or who are black, Latino, or American Indian—to lives on the margins of the American mainstream (“The education trust,” 2009).”

The Education Trust raises awareness for other groups such as the Common Core States Standards Initiatives (CCSS), which advocates for consistent learning goals from state to state. Currently the District of Columbia and forty-five states not including Virginia have “put in place new standards for students, as part of the Common Core State Standards initiative” (Almy & Amann, 2012; ).  Specifically the standards focus on “rigorous content and application of knowledge through high-order thinking skills” within the English-language arts and math standards for grades K-12 (“The common core,” 2011).  Keep in mind these are not National Standards and the Government was not involved, but rather, teachers and states were involved in the development.  For instance organizations such as “The National Education Association (NEA), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), and National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).” (“The common core,” 2011).

      As public school educators our schools goals and objectives are bounded by national legislations and varying state and local government operations, so I realize the benefit of common education goals (Ornstein, Levine & Gutek, 2011).  A common goal for education policy is to improve high school graduation rates and increase the number of students graduating with post-secondary degrees.  I believe that revamping K-12 education to include common standards will help teachers to improve on curriculum and focus instruction to ensure they are preparing students for success in college.

The Common Core Standards:

  • Are aligned with college and work expectations;
  • Are clear, understandable and consistent;
  • Include rigorous content and application of knowledge through high-order skills;
  • Build upon strengths and lessons of current state standards;
  • Are informed by other top performing countries, so that all students are prepared to succeed in our global economy and society; and are evidence-based.


Almy, S., & Amann, P. (2012). Harkin bill aims to turn school standards into student learning. Retrieved from http://www.edtrust.org/dc/press-room/news/harkin-bill-aims-to-turn-school-standards-into-student-learning.

Ornstein, A. C., Levine, D. U., & Gutek, G. L. (2011). Foundations of education. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning

The common core standard initiative. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.corestandards.org/frequently-asked-questions

The education trust. (2009). Retrieved from http://www.edtrust.org/dc/about

1 Comment

  • I really liked seeing that there are steps being taken to “level the playing ground” so to speak. I am especially excited to see the action that the CCSS is taking to establish some sort of “norm.” One of my biggest issues with the American education system is that everyone is doing their own thing to reach the same goal, but it makes everyone’s job more difficult. Having at least a few national guidelines would improve the education substantially, I’m sure.