Common Core sets high standard for Illinois classrooms

The "Common Core" will allow for student-driven classrooms in Illinois.

Schools in Illinois are preparing for a big change in the classroom.

It's a new national standard of teaching called the "Common Core."

The Quincy School District and the Quincy Federation of Teachers have organized two public forums to educate the community about these new standards. The forums will take place Monday and Wednesday at the Kroc Center's community room from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The "Common Core" state standard is slowing making its way across the country, making sure students in the same grades are learning the same curriculum and the skills behind it. Find out which states have adopted the Common Core here.

The state of Illinois got on board about two years ago, but the new standard won't take effect until 2014. This new approach will allow students to form problem solving skills on their own rather than have the teacher show them the way.

Quincy Senior High School Math Teacher Todd Klauser says this will be an awkward transition for both students and staff and very time consuming. He says text books will stay the same until new ones are created to include the core standard. That means teachers will have to develop their own teaching methods using current text books as guides. The Common Core standard focuses on Math and English.

"We have already started switching over. There are some topics that had not been previously covered in our math curriculum that we're adding so we can be as ready as we can for 2014. We cannot sit back and wait till the common core is fully implemented on state testing before we start teaching the material and getting our students ready for it," Klauser said.

The "Common Core" has received high praise from area teachers. But there is a downside.

Right now, students in kindergarten through 8th grade are not tested with the core's curriculum, but the high schools are. So when standardized test results come in, students will more than likely receive lower scores and lower school ratings. That could be problematic for many Illinois schools who receive funding for high test scores.