Of the 50 states, seven decided against adopting the Common Core standards with Virginia being one of them. Their decision was based on the fact that they had already poured large amounts of money into developing a statewide standard, the Virginia Standards of Learning, which Virginian educators see as being superior to the curriculum set forth by the Core. Because of this, Virginia has proven to be one of the few states that has avoided the hot topic debate since opponents to the Core became vocal around 2011.
A Decade Long Adaptation
Virginia’s decision not to adopt the core was not made lightly. While the federally funded standards cost over $4 billion to piece together, Virginia’s own curriculum also required an incredible amount of funding. On top of this, the state’s standards have been honed over a period of 10 years, steadily adapting to the challenges and rigors of each subsequent generation of Virginians.
Though the Standards of Learning have proven to be effective, this doesn’t mean the Core went by without any kind of consideration. In fact, many educators compared the curriculum between the two options and then adjusted the state options accordingly. It is one of the few states that maintained a level-head as it found a realistic way to satisfy the Common Core without signing on to any national program. In addition, the entire system has remained familiar to both students and teachers, saving them from the outrage recent Core test PARCC has caused this past school year.
A State on a Mission
Virginia does not pretend it is perfect. While states like Texas seem to have been offended at the idea of better standards for the children, Virginia has welcomed the challenge, openly admitting that there are still many areas they can, and will, improve upon. One way they plan to do this is by placing a greater emphasis on reading and math during the early years of school, saving math and history emphasis for later. This wouldn’t mean dropping the subjects altogether, it would simply mean either broadening or deepening the talk based on the importance of the subject at the specific grade level.
This way of thinking is in direct contrast to the mentality of the other states now trying to buck the Core. Virginian educators see this as a challenge for their state. Once met, they hope to achieve a statewide standard that is “fewer, clearer, higher” than the Core while still providing the children of the state every opportunity they need to succeed after graduation.
As for the future? Virginia is staunch in its stand against the Core. By utilizing its benefits, they have peacefully integrated in the next generation of what the world expects from coming generations. Since it is working so well now, there is absolutely no need by the state to make drastic conversions.