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The New Kid in School: Common Core State Standards


The New Kid in School: Common Core State Standards

Marines have a lot on their mind when reporting to a new duty station. No matter one’s age or MOS, there’s always new information to learn. I should know. I’ve been that new Army member many times and can relate to learning the new unit’s mission and personality.

It’s easier for those of us serving knowing that we’re given the tools, uniforms, equipment and skills needed to succeed. We can feel confident in our success because we belong to an organization of standards.

The same should be true for our kids, whether it’s their first day at a new school or their second year with an impending move. The details may change, but they shouldn’t have to worry about the basics.

Thankfully, with the Common Core State Standards in place, they don’t – but not all states have adopted the standards including Virginia, Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas and Alaska — and this is troublesome indeed.

For a Marine child, changing schools can be a lot more difficult than changing units. High school students are greatly affected by military moves because it affects their graduation requirements and preparation for college – even their ability to get into the best college in the first place.

More times than I can recall, I’ve heard many military parents discuss their children being affected by schools, which decide their own path as best, with no set criteria. It is frustrating to say the least.

We’ve personally been affected by this problem. My last PCS was within the same state and my son had attended a rural school that was primarily focused on vocational education. His new school was drastically different where the majority of students were in a college preparatory curriculum. He has since adapted, however, having a single standard would have saved almost two years of struggling.

the new kid in school: common core state standards

That’s why the Common Core State Standards were developed. It’s a way to ensure children who change schools are protected and won’t be punished by moves. The Standards provide a baseline of what all students should be required to learn in crucial subjects like math and English. They also help answer a key question: What should our students learn in order to be become gainfully employed, join the military, or advance to college?

Just like Marine Corps standards, the Common Core Standards were developed by professionals. The Standards were developed by states, based off of queries from professional educators to determine the information that high school graduates need to know to succeed. The Standards have been voluntarily adopted in 45 states and the District of Columbia, and the schools are beginning to use them. There’s still a lot of work to do to implement them fully, but I think we’re off to a good start.

The best part about the Standards is that they leave plenty of room for schools and teachers to be creative and teach independently, utilizing their professional judgment as to what they think is best.

the new kid in school: common core state standardsAs long as students are learning the skills, there is plenty of space for different approaches to teaching. Just like in every unit, every leader can develop his or her own approach to get the mission done and everyone is encouraged to exceed the basic standard.

I know there is a lot of political rhetoric surrounding these states standards, but from my experience, the politicians are mostly missing the point. Our students are counting on adults to make decisions based on what’s best for the kids, and setting a baseline standard for what they should learn before graduation – which the Common Core State Standards do – makes sense, at least to this soldier and his kids.

Contact your state legislators and let them know why implementing Common Core State Standards matters to you and your Marine Corps family.


new kid on the block: common core state standards

Major Douglas C. Rapp currently serves as a Strategic Planner and Operations Expert for the Joint Forces Headquarters, Indiana Army National Guard. As a planning and operations expert, MAJ Rapp coordinates and authorizes plans that direct the National Guard of Indiana on behalf of the Adjutant General. MAJ Rapp began his Army career as an enlisted Soldier in 1984 and has commissioned shortly after 9/11. He has been mobilized five times, including two combat deployments to Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he was awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge and two Bronze Stars for performance in combat. Maj. Rapp received a BFA from Indiana University – Fort Wayne and a MSM from Indiana Wesleyan. He currently resides with his wife and son in Zionsville, where he enjoys being very active in the community, volunteering for numerous non-profits and coaching rugby.

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  1. This is hooey. Purportedly written by a Marine? But the author is clearly a soldier. Sound like advertisement for common core. Stamp it with “marine” and people will drink this poolside.

    • I had the same intuition 45 seconds in. As a strategic Planner for the marines, he must have experience in PR and marketing because this reads like a paid advertisement for Common Core.

  2. Dear Maj
    As a soldier, Vietnam vet I understand what you are talking about . I don’t know nor to I care what political party you are aligned with but have you read any of the common core books like history? Please do so. If you know anything about American history you find portions of those books different from the real history and it’s all political. Politics should not be in any students school and particurlarly changing what our history was.
    Politics should not be in grade school nor high school or college but it is and in a very very liberal manner. Political correctness is also in these books as well as being taught. As a soldier you know better than anyone else what the constitution says, what thr bill of rights are and the civil war was not just about slavery.

    Please read some of the books for yourself. Politicians on school boards should not be making theses decisions and YES the local community knows what is good for thir children not the federal government

    Thank you and thank you for your service

  3. We the people want control of our local education. No to common core, it’s a stupid program, and we will not stand for it.

  4. Your argument looks good on paper… until you actually read what Common Core is teaching. Your child will learn the same 2+2=5 across the states that adopted common core, will learn that reading assembly manuals is equivalent to reading Shakespeare, and that cultural diversity interpretations trump objective facts in history and all subjects. A common set of standards is a nice idea, but this common core curriculum is harmful to our children and their futures.

  5. Except that this baseline is the equivalent of bringing down the current USMC Recruit training down to the same level as a USAF recruit and expecting the newly trained Marines to perform as well as past Marines did in the field. That is not a knock on the USAF (they are highly trained for their jobs and I respect the work they do), but meant to point out that providing a baseline that is poorly thought out will, in fact, cause more harm to the children than not having such a low bar and require them to work harder in the future just to meet what’s currently acceptable.

    This curriculum does not encourage children to learn how to think about things. It’s main purpose seems to be to provide administrative personnel a way to “track” students progress. As parents and Marines we need to be calling for a better standard than this one. There are excellent examples out there already (look at what Marva Collins has done) that work. We don’t need to overhaul the system to try out a new theory that hasn’t been proven.

    We’ve been lucky enough to be able to homeschool our 4 kids (20, 18, 15, and 10) mostly through the sacrifice and hard work done by my lovely wife who gave up a lucrative and fulfilling career as a glassblower to do so. In doing so we have spent quite a bit of time looking at different curriculums and were (and are) able to tailor specific programs for each of our kids. And we did it while my income has remained relatively modest (if I was still active in the USMC I’d be making close to what a E6-7 makes).

    • Well said R.M. – the dumbing down of the USA is well underway, and these standards are to ensure no one fails, not to ensure that students are fully prepared.

  6. Wow – typical Major political double-speak… someone paying you to write this BS or did you just drink the Obama kook-aide? The Federal Government has NO business setting any standards for communities on education. Our Constitution spells out what is directly their responsibility, all other items belong to the state. Common Core is so below what is acceptable in many places. It is not about ensuring common critical standards, it is about the federal government trying to get into every school and dictate what is and what is not taught.

    Just a question – you have a “V” on that BSM? If not, it’s just for kissing a$$.

    Go blow smoke up other’s backsides.

    • Very good comment. As a Navy vet and retired public high school teacher in the Midwest, I agree completely. The U.S. Constitution guarantees education as a state function.

  7. What a load of YOU KNOW WHAT!

    I don’t know of a person in the military that trusts or respects the Obama administration that put these “common core standards” together. The Governors started it and then Obama decided to “leverage’ their efforts and came up with the dumbed down garbage that is common core.

    Check our Dreaming in Cuban or the latest one on a male in love with his goat (bestiality). Yes no kidding! Dreaming in Cuban is written by Christina Garcia and of course an OPRAH WINFREY book club book. Yes one dirty hand washes the other.

    The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. is the beastality book. This book was written from the point of a view of a person who enjoyed raping young girls. It glorified rape, pedophilia and incest.

    Obama is determined to trash our kids as well as our country.

  8. As a teacher, I can say with absolute confidence that Common Core will eventually tear down our educational system and make our country a nation of praise junkies, slackers, and procrastinators. Nobody has to try, no real motivation to succeed since a teacher can’t hold a student back, only continue testing until the student finally passes. How is this progress ??
    I have also been a child who moved around, finishing high school with 12 schools in my dust. I had to adjust and be flexible. There were years when I could relax and breeze through and there were years when I had to work my butt off, but in the end I graduated in the top 10. I didn’t like moving that often, but it didn’t hurt me at all. In fact, it motivated me to come out of my shell and adapt to new environments.
    We need to stop coddling our children, making sure they never experience disappointment. Life has many lessons, and those usually involve disappointment. Children learn to either save themselves and move on, or look for someone to save them. I look around this country and see far too many people with their hands out, waiting for someone to do the work for them, give them a handout, or save them from bad choices.
    Let’s do better for our kids.

  9. This fella is no Marine; he’s Army National Guard!

    I also don’t want “Common Core standards” being applied to my child; that’s why I plan to homeschool her while my husband (an actual Marine, mind you) does his duty for his country.

    Like what Heidi said earlier, children eventually learn to be flexible or learn to depend on handouts; let’s teach them how to be flexible instead.

  10. My daughter has almost 2 hours of homework a night. She is only in 3rd grade. It may not seem like much to some and it may seem a lot to others, but I think it’s a little too much for 3rd grade. The stuff she brings home I feel is above her grade level. She is in the GATE classes, but I’m afraid she is going to get burnt out and then that opens a whole new can of worries. It’s too much. Get rid of common core please

  11. No real Marine would get confused between the Corps and the Army (I would know). Guestblogger is a propagandist for the Left and is pushing common core. Total puff piece to push the leftist agenda and should be ignored.

    Semper Fi

  12. Common Core is Crap!!! This is the second year my 7 year old has been subjected to this trash and it is making me sick. The person that wrote this conveniently left out the fact that with Common Core, children will be subjected to data mining of personal information and also be tested like lab rats and guinea pigs to find out what job they will be REQUIRED to do in the future.All of the big bucks going into funding Common Core are being supplied by socialist loving Obama supporters. People need to get their heads out of their butts and find out what Common Core is REALLY about and put an end to it NOW!

  13. Common Core is a sure fire way to make us run fast to finish last and ensures one more way big government can intrude on parental rights. The federal government has no constitutional right to impose this kind of standard on the states. We are a Marine Corps family of 22 years and I chose to homeschool from Kindergarden through 12th grade. Our oldest son recently graduated from USC with full scholarships, commissioned, and is awaiting TBS and flight training. There are so many wonderful ways to educate our children and why do we want to squish them into the “Common” box when they are so uniquely created and gifted and wanting to excel in the world? Look at the statistics for charter schools in Louisiana- they are doing a fantastic job! We have lots of energetic & creative public school teachers out there who genuinely love children and want to help students succeed. I feel badly for them that Common Core is the parameter from which they have to educate children. Bottom line, Common Core is a stumbling block to achievement and prosperity in America. Here is a link to some FAQ about Common Core and links to more information:

  14. Wow! I’m sure most posting these comments haven’t researched about CCSS, and may have gotten their information from non-educational sites that do not provide the “full picture”. No Child Left Behind did not help education for 13 years, and left schools getting put in “sentencing” status for not achieving high enough scores, and yet, those were the schools that needing funding the most-for after school and tutoring programs. CCSS will allow children to learn at early levels, and continually review that which has been taught at each grade level. CCSS are not about content, such as Shakespeare or history, but about allowing students to begin to “think outside of the box.” Content is not determined nationally; it is only a suggested reading list. Novels will not be eliminated, and reading across all content areas will be emphasized. Most reading selections will be chosen at district level. Students will no longer be tested on multiple choice, but reading, analysis and developing writing with citations to support or dissuade readers. These are skills that are needed in the real world. A national survey has been conducted with high school seniors and juniors who are not ready to enter college. They just assume they have college-level skills. However, most are having to take remedial courses their freshmen year, because they lack writing and analytical abilities.

    • EdTechie,
      how will CCSS help children to “think outside the box” when the ‘standards’ put them all into the same little box?
      Failure to learn is NOT a reason to surrender all control of your Children’s education to Socialists in D.C.
      You say, “Content is not determined nationally; it is only a suggested reading list.”…that is like saying “The Law is not determined nationally, it is only a suggested reading list”. Hogwash…if you are going to be TESTED on it, you will HAVE to READ it.
      You say, “most are having to take remedial courses their freshmen year, because they lack writing and analytical abilities.”…now we learn that ALL remedial classes are being eliminated because it infers failure of the CCSS system, and they have not yet figured out how to profit from them. So they eliminated them.
      Does this sound like the Children’s best interest were in mind?

      CCSS is NOT about Education…it is about Control. Once the Socialists and Educrats in D.C. have control of ALL education, State and Local School Boards will not be able to stop or change them.
      If Common Core Lives, Freedom Dies.

  15. While I think this was well-intended (maybe), I don’t think it’s a very good idea. What happens to the kids with zero initiative and don’t give a flip about learning? Will they bring the standards down even lower than the common core standards? The only thing this does is promote mediocrity, and lack of drive to be the best. My sons are enrolled in Honors classes, but are not allowed to call them Honors classes because it is offensive to others who are in the regular classes, since the Honors students might be “smarter”. They are only smarter in certain areas, while other areas other children are most likely ahead of them. It’s a big PC game, and it ultimately lowers standards for some, while disguising itself as a fantasy by liberals. They have changed the education system so much that they are now destroying it, teaching kids about sex, homosexuality, drugs, abortions, instead of the 3 Rs and citizenship and ethics and initiative. It’s sad.
    There are kids who have had no problem in school. They should focus on why other kids are failing. It’s most likely NOT the school’s problem to fix.

  16. I was an educator from 1981 until 2010 and watched education become a tool of the government to DUMB down the electorate SO they do not see the big picture. Publishers are making billions selling test( standardized) that go with their textbooks and are not based on intelligence but rote memory that is based on false information. I f AMERICANS don’t get U S GOVT out of education we won’t have anymore future.

  17. Communist Core is NOT about Education…it is about CONTROL.
    Once the Socialists and Educrats in Washington D.C. have CONTROL of ALL education, the “Standards” will morph into Socialist Doctrine, and there will be nothing that State or Local School Boards will be able to do about it.
    If Common Core Lives, Freedom Dies.



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