In the next year, the Beverly Hills Unified School District (BHUSD) looks to make a few changes that we expect will greatly improve our community and our education. The biggest change will be the switch to the Common Core State Standards. Alongside 45 other states, California and thus BHUSD is changing its standards to assure that students acquire the necessary life skills via mathematics and language arts.
The editorial board looks forward to most of the changes and we are glad, for multiple reasons, that the district has decided to make the transition. We look forward to the integration of math classes and a new curriculum that focuses on critical thinking. Currently, instructors’ focus on teaching state standards and preparing students for standardized tests may prevent students from learning for the sake of learning. We believe that the Common Core’s emphasis on critical thinking, a contrast to the current curriculum standards, will provide students with necessary life skills by teaching them to better understand solving math problems, rather than just focus on getting the answers. Additionally, an interdisciplinary approach to learning will bring a greater cross-curricular balance.
For the most part, we like the proposed adjustments to the English curricula. For one, the changes in the standards for grammar will make learning grammar easier for students. Teaching grammar only when it is pertinent will make grammar feel less like a chore. The new curricula will also stress building grammatical skills in order to make sure we have the means we need to succeed. Furthermore, the change to address more nonfiction texts will further students’ literature analysis skills in ways that reading fiction cannot. Similar to the changes in the Math Dept., the changes in language arts courses will aid students in becoming more well-rounded and versatile, a quality helpful for fulfilling future careers. However, there are parts of this new curriculum that make us uneasy, such as the choice to make some things more technologically advanced, such as tests. For one, standardized tests will be moved online. This leaves us confused as to how teachers will be able stop cheating. How can the administration hope to prevent cheating when students can simply open a new tab or another internet service?
The switch to the Common Core Standards will not only affect the high school, but also the rest of the district. We are especially excited about the changes that will be made at the middle-school level and can’t help but be a bit jealous that younger grades have the opportunity to learn Latin. By beginning complex education in lower grades, such as introducing basic algebra concepts in second grade, students will be able to make an easier transition to secondary education and harder classes.