Much heat and a little light have been shed abroad of late about the newest educational initiative called the Common Core. This latest in the assembly line of educational reform proposals has been hailed as the savior of the future of America by some and pilloried as a Marxist over-reach by others. The prevalence of this question in the culture means that we are more and more being asked, “Does CCS do Common Core?”
The answer to that question is an unqualified, “No”… and “Yes.”
No, Cary Christian School has not adopted the Common Core State Standards endorsed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers.
Yes, Cary Christian School subscribes to the idea that there is a “common core” of knowledge and skills necessary to live and function well in the world that God has created. These include reading all kinds of literature well, writing and communicating articulately and winsomely, thinking critically and logically in the various ways of reasoning, and appreciating and recognizing beauty wherever one encounters it. This also includes a knowledge of the “big ideas” that have shaped our culture, and us, over the centuries.
So, a student at Cary Christian School will learn that, in fact, in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Later, in the Logic stage, they will think through why Columbus sailed and the implications of that sailing. In the Rhetoric stage, they ask questions like, “Should Columbus have sailed the ocean blue?” Along the way, they will read secondary as well as primary sources related to the question. They will write essays and give presentations about the events. Then, they will perform computations related to the journey. All the while, they are developing knowledge and skills necessary to understand the world, the God who made it, and ways to do good and beautiful things within it.
Armed with that “core,” a student is well equipped to live, and live well, in any environment. It is a fascinating privilege to watch a student grow into these skills and knowledge. I’m reminded of the beauty of that process when I watch my own daughter prepare for her senior thesis after twelve years of learning the skills of writing, critical thinking, analysis, synthesis, and rhetorical expression. By God’s grace, we will see more and more of these students enter the world armed with the skills to do true, good, and beautiful things in the world.