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.
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.
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.