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Iowa Core Curriculum

By Staff | Mar 18, 2010

In a continuing discussion on what skills students need for future success, parents, teachers, a student, and school administrators met Mar. 11, at the Emmetsburg Middle School/High School library. The meeting was the third in a series of four to discuss the Iowa Core Curriculum and 21st Century Skills.

The Department of Education for the State of Iowa has created a plan called the Iowa Core Curriculum, a statewide effort to improve teaching and learning to ensure that all Iowa students engage in a rigorous and relevant curriculum which addresses essential skills. The Core Curriculum includes the core content areas of literacy (reading and writing), math, science, and social studies, as well 21st Century Skills, developed to help students be successful after leaving school. These 21st Century Skills include employability skills, financial literacy, health literacy, technology literacy, and civic literacy.

“As we read more and more about national standards and national curriculum, they’re coming to Iowa to see what the Iowa Core is,” said Superintendent John Joynt. “Whatever the nation does, ours is going to be similar. There won’t be a lot of changes, and we’ll be ready.”

Deb Jurrens, member of the Iowa Team Core, led the group in discussion activities to determine what financial and technological skills today’s students need to be successful in their future endeavors. She kicked-off the discussion with Financial Literacy.

“Looking at things in your profession and personal life, what financial skills do you think our kids need when they leave us?” asked Jurrens.

Comments heard in regards to demonstrating financial responsibility and planning for a lifetime of financial health: “Savings – kids don’t know what it means to save, they want instant gratification, no knowledge of getting and saving allowance, don’t want to work for the money,” “Setting financial goals – set a goal and save, wait if there is no money in the budget,” “Credit is too easy to access,” “No ability to plan for a rainy day,” and “Save a percentage – understand how to budget.”

Comments heard about managing money by developing spending plans and using financial instruments: “Budget means put down income, expenses and then plan a way to live within your means” and “Software would be more meaningful and easier to use when learning how to build a budget.”

Comments heard in regards to incurring and repaying debt: “Many issues with needs and wants can become social issues – opinion based.”

Comments heard about risk management options: “Kids need to understand how to keep insurance premiums down – how to be an advocate for yourself,” and “Young, healthy people don’t understand the importance of insurance.”

Comments about assessing the value and planning of savings, investing, and asset building: “Goal-setting (as an entrepreneur) is important.”

Comments heard on understanding human, cultural, and societal issues related to finances: “Educators are now going to be responsible for the values of students,” “Schools can give access to the knowledge so that they can make informed decisions,” “Credit will be a big thing to start teaching – it is so easy to get a hold of a credit card and students can get into trouble (i.e. no understanding of interest rate and flexible APR’s, only pay the minimum payment),” and “Credit is not saved for valued assets, but the everyday things.”

Jurrens then moved the discussion on to the subject of Technology Literacy and what concepts and skills are necessary for success.

Comments about demonstrating creative thinking and developing innovative products using technology: “Different kinds of software and hardware,” “If we teach tools only available know, we are teaching students to be out of date, so we have to teach the problem-solving and innovative skills,” “Encourage creative thinking, because you never know what students can do if the opportunity is presented to be creative (don’t be stuck in a pigeon-hole),” “Students are taught how to use the software, not all the things you can do with the software,” and “Students need to construct the questions and then put the tools to work to find the answers.”

Comments on using digital media to communicate and work collaboratively: “Understand what available technology can do for you” and “Technology is many things, not only a computer.”

Comment heard about applying digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information: “Knowing how to assess information on the Internet.”

Comments on demonstrating critical thinking skills using appropriate tools and resources: “We don’t have to wonder anymore – the Internet is a daily tool.”

Comments about understanding human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and legal/ethical behavior: “Anything you put on the social sites is available for everyone,” “Nothing is secure and everything on a computer is there forever,” and “Cyber-bullying.”

Comments heard on demonstrating a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations: “If you don’t know how the tool works, you can’t use it,” “Problem-solving with technology,” “Learning takes place everyday,” “A basic is how to set up a filing system on the computer – organization is the skill needed to do this,” and “How to problem-solve when things aren’t working right.”

The next and final meeting to discuss 21st Century Skills will be held Thursday, Apr. 8. Attendees will talk about Health Literacy and Civic Literacy.