If you went to school in the U.S. at any time from the early 1900s to the turn of the century, you might be familiar with a report card that looks something like this:
To follow suit with the ever-changing educational system, the U. S. is now considering a new way of presenting academic achievement. It is called the common core. Through the common core, many states will be expected to adopt common core curriculum maps that supposedly create a common framework for students across every region of the Nation. These curriculum maps would, in theory, align achievement standards across states so that every student would have the same learning expectation according to their grade level.
Now, I am not sure on how all of this will work out, but I do remember something like this happening in the past. I remember a very old but very wise Teacher instructing His students in a very commanding way. His classroom management, methodologies, pedagogy and tactics were rarely questioned and yet, his standards were so high that almost all of his students were expected to reach high and push themselves to achieve greatness. His report card looked a bit like this:
1. You shall not have strange gods before me.
2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
3. Remember that you keep holy the sabbath day.
4. Honor your father and your mother.
5. You shall not kill.
6. You shall not commit adultery.
7. You shall not steal.
8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
10. Neither shall you desire his wife.
(Exodus 20: 1-17) taken from http://www.newadvent.com at http://www.newadvent.org/bible/exo020.htm#vrs3 on 1-28-11
Then, His Son came along. If you are a Teacher and you have children, you know how much your instruction changes when your own child comes into the picture. For this wise sage, it was no different. His Son lived up to every one of His Father’s expectations and, as a result, was able to teach the rest of His classmates how to do the same. In fact, He translated the first report card and made it easier to understand without sacrificing its original rigor. After the modifications were made by His Son, the wise Teacher’s Report card looks a bit like this:
1. “You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind and with your whole strength.”
2. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”
(Mark 12: 29-31)
According to commoncore.org,
“The No Child Left Behind Act has increased the amount of time schools devote to basic reading and math skills, squeezing core subjects out of the classroom. Because schools are sacrificing the subjects that open students’ minds and teach them to think critically and imaginatively about the world, we’re working to restore teaching of core academic disciplines. Only a complete liberal arts education will enable today’s students to become tomorrow’s well-prepared citizens.”
Schools might be “sacrificing subjects that open students’ minds,” but God sacrificed His Son to open our, His children’s, hearts. If we really want our students to become “tomorrow’s well-prepared citizens,” we must first accept the Wise Teacher and His Son and make their Spirit the guiding force of our service to others. Perhaps then we can truly understand what it means to become part of a common core.