The states of Illinois, Indiana, New York and Oregon (all states where HEART has offices) are making U.S. education history by joining 41 other states in adopting the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The majority of the U.S. has, for the first time, agreed on a common baseline for academic knowledge and college readiness that was developed in collaboration with teachers, school administrators, and experts. CCSS was designed to be relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our youth need for success in college and the workforce.
We are excited to announce that HEART Chicago has integrated the CCSS into our 4th through 7th grade humane education program. Our instructors now teach over twenty lessons in ways that honor the fusion of academic knowledge and social-emotional consciousness.
Since its inception, the HEART humane education program has sought to foster compassion and respect for all living beings and the environment by educating youth and teachers in humane education. At first glance, our program can be considered a niche within social emotional learning or character education, but HEART also recognizes and appreciates the need for learning standards that adequately address both core academic knowledge and complex critical thinking skills that are needed for an efficacious life for all.
Our curriculum will continue to:
- Provide accurate information about the interrelated issues of human rights, environmental preservation, animal protection, and culture.
- Teach critical thinking so students can discern fact from opinion.
- Encourage withholding judgment until another’s idea is fully expressed.
- Inspire the 3 Rs-Reverence, Respect, and Responsibility- so students will have both the passion for, and the commitment to, bringing about positive change.
Our curriculum is now enhanced by CCSS in the following ways:
- Using resources that include a HEART produced “textbook” and primary sources (such as the Petition for Universal Suffrage) and other media, including news videos.
- Giving students “real world” tasks to complete in relation to their reading (such as writing a news article, creating a television commercial, using the internet to bring about change, etc.)
- Providing students the opportunity to analyze, and weigh in on, various arguments and ideas and determine the credibility of those ideas.
We see education as a promise for the future and so too does the CCSS.