What Common Core Means to Military Families: A Student’s Perspective

What Common Core Means to Military Families: A Student’s Perspective was originally published on Navigator. 
In recognition of Veterans Day, as well as Military Family Appreciation Month, we honor all of those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, as well as their family members who have made their own sacrifices. This week, we’re sharing three different perspectives from the military community regarding the Common Core State Standards. Below is the second in our series, and is penned by Andrew Parry. It originally appeared in a special issue of the the Military Child Education Coalition’s member newsletter, On The Move
I spent my whole childhood as a military child, so moving around was a pretty common occurrence. In fact, I moved 12 times by my 18th birthday, which included attending four different high schools. While my situation is certainly not unique, it was not without its challenges. Because of the frequent moves and school changes, I had to take frequent assessments to determine where I “belonged” in my new classes. The “advanced” reading group in one school may have been the equivalent of the “average” group in the next school I attended. In high school the challenges were even greater.
Although I excelled in academics I found myself “out of sync” with my classes. In English, I found myself re-reading books in the 10th and 11th grades that I had read in 9th grade. Additionally, there were books my senior year that, according to my teacher, I SHOULD have read, but didn’t because they weren’t part of the curriculum at my past schools.
Math proved to be even more difficult. I never took a class in geometry but was expected to know it my sophomore year. This required extra effort on my part to “catch up” with the rest of the class or risk falling further behind. My senior year I found myself in a freshman geography class that was required for graduation.
I am confident there are other military children who experience the same issues I faced. That is why the implementation of Common Core State Standards is beneficial to families that must relocate frequently. No longer will kids risk falling behind because of a parent’s reassignment. The curriculum, while challenging, is also uniform from state to state, ensuring that military children are afforded the same opportunities as their peers and that, regardless of where they graduate from high school, they are prepared for either college or the workforce.
With the support of the Military Child Education Coalition, this issue and its importance to military-connected students can get the necessary attention of state governments and school systems. More importantly, the effort will help ensure that all children leave high school ready for the next phase in their life whether that is college, working, or both.
Although I succeeded in school without Common Core Standards in place, I had a fair number of challenges. Fellow students not well-equipped to handle the frequent changes struggled more. For the sake of all children, it is imperative that the knowledge and skills taught from kindergarten through high school be both consistent from state to state as well as challenging.
Click here to see yesterday’s related article from an administrator’s perspective. And check out our other Common Core-related articles here.
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