My state is in the middle of a three year transition over to the Common Core standards. My school and district have been working on making gradual changes to the curriculum spread over these years so the transition is as easy for students as possible. In spite of that, there have still been some bumps in the road.
For me, the changes have been relatively minor. I've always been a hands on teacher who pushed kids to challenge themselves and problem solve. Common Core aligns with my own personal teaching philosophy so the shift hasn't been a radical one for me.
But school wide it is a more dramatic change. And some students are struggling with it. The ones who are struggling has been a surprise to many.
The highest achievers are the ones who are having a difficult time with CC. This has come as a big surprise to most of the faculty. But I've been seeing this is my own class for years.
What many teachers are seeing now is something I've known for a long time. Many high achieving students don't have the skills to cope with being challenged.
The struggling and middle learned are used to being confused when new concepts are presented. They know that initial confusion is more than likely temporary and can work through it. Students who have been familiar with everything they've done in class before it was presented panic when they are first presented with things they can't do immediately.
For some students and parents they interpret this to mean that Common Core is too hard. That's not really the case. It's forcing teachers to challenge all students and teach problem solving skills. If students never have a problem to work though how can they possibly learn to work though issues and find solutions?
I hope that as this transition goes on more students and parents will realize that productive struggle is essential for learning. In fact, the most valuable learning takes place when students work through a struggle on their own.