Common Core Standards and Motivation

It seems that every week I hear more and more about the Common Core Standards, and most of it is negative or another attack against it. Some states have even dropped these voluntary national standards for reading and math for K-12 students. As one of the early opponents of the Common Core Standards, I am glad that others are realizing the flaws inherent in them.

Of course, I understand the motive behind the standards. The objective is to ensure students are ready for college and work. And because so many students are not equipped for success in these two arenas, educational leaders are attempting to solve the challenge by establishing common standards.

Establishing standards sounds and feels good. But really, that’s all it does. As with so much of education, these standards gain headlines but not much else.

To me, it seems that the policy makers are missing the mark. The key to improving student performance and achievement has nothing to do with establishing standards; rather, it rests with what goes on in the classrooms. Setting standards completely bypasses this essential requirement, as now the teachers must teach to the standards, not to the needs of the students who are in their classes.

A better approach to improving student performance and achievement is to focus on how to motivate students to want to learn. Forcing standards when there is no motivation to learn them is counterproductive and a waste of both time and money. One such system that motivates students to learn is described in the Discipline Without Stress Teaching Model.