New Michigan Standard

Learning targets help usher in common core standards, present clear, consistent goals for learning


PHOTO Alyssa Branoff

Senior Luke Idoni is one of the few who still writes in cursive.

As students enter their classrooms, they see their daily learning target written on the board. These targets that began appearing in the classroom last year are just one part of the new standards for Michigan schools.
On June 15, 2010, the state of Michigan accepted this new set of standards for schools all over the state. These Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have been adopted by all but five states; the new standards consist of specific requirements for both Math and English for grades K-12.
“These standards of content and practice define what students should understand and be able to do,” Principal Mark Suchowski said. “The Common Core State Standards that have been adopted include most if not all of the same content as the [previous standards], but require teachers to address them perhaps in a different order or through different classroom practices.”
According to Michigan’s Department of Education website, the new learning targets, are an improvement from the previous ones because they establish “clear and consistent goals.”
“I’m handling the learning targets by just putting them in the Common Core State Standards,” English teacher Charissa Rausch said. “I think the learning target is making sure that learning is very transparent, that we understand what our objective is and we understand the skills we are mastering in order to have that standard met.”
It is still up to the schools and teachers to decide how these learning targets are to be achieved; allowing programs like the IB curriculum to influence teaching.
“The CCSS have not required us to change the math and ELA courses at the high school, rather adjust the standards being taught in each class as well as building more application of the standards into lessons,” Curriculum Director Melody Strang said. “The increased application expectations will have a positive impact on our IB Programme.”
As the world continues to hold more technology, the skill for an individual to be able to handwrite words out is becoming less important. This trend is continuing with the abandonment of the requirement to teach cursive in elementary schools.
“I write in cursive because it looks better than my print,” senior Luke Idoni said. “But I do not think cursive should still be taught because nobody uses it anymore. It should be up to the individual to learn cursive if they want to.”
The new Common Core State Standards are close to being accepted by every state in the USA. Only time will tell if this unifying educational program will have the effect desired by its creators.