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What Is Common Core?

5 Nov

I have friends with young children who ask me, “What is Common Core and why should I care?” I promised them this explanation a week ago. Please remember I have an agenda and I encourage you to follow the link at the end of this blog to form your own opinions.

The Common Core was introduced to the schools at the beginning of the 2013 school year. Its initial ideas were sound and made sense in the beginning. The mission statement is as follows (posted on corestandards.org):

“The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.”

It makes sense, right? It is a great concept – get our children on par with the rest of the world. Make them further prepared for the real world so America has a chance to compete against countries such as Japan. I was on board when the program rolled out. The program was built on standards dictated by the states. These standards were created through student test results. As a parent, I was led to believe that this program would extend the ability of the teachers to teach students as they learn. This meant, to me, that a visual learner would get visual instruction, an artist would get lessons that way, and so on. I was on board initially.

The program went into effect immediately upon the beginning of the school year. Right away, I saw problems. Children who had very high test scores throughout school were suddenly in remedial courses while others who needed remedial courses were not in those classes. (We have a very close community, which is how I gathered this information.) I began to dig deeper into what was going on and found out that one test – ONE TEST – dictated the placement of the children.

This test was the state test that all children took last year. Many children who normally test well did not test well because they were ill prepared for the test. The TEACHERS were ill prepared for the tests because they were not allowed to view the tests previously. Furthermore, the state would not tell the teachers what was on the test. What were they supposed to teach??? How were these children supposed to prepare? Some children who can test well but may fall short of the actual material are not in necessary remedial courses. Some children who do not test well but otherwise grasp material MUCH OLDER THAN THEIR GRADE are now in remedial courses. This was the first point which made my blood boil.

I then began receiving homework at home that I could not figure out. My children were not benefiting from the homework because they couldn’t figure out how to do it. I didn’t know how to help them. What’s more, there was no – previous – knowledge – mentioned. The kids could not build on what they already learned because the new curriculum was starting from scratch. Again, I was angry. This is when I began contacting the state.

I contacted a teacher as well, who told me that my daughter was bringing home classwork which explained the homework. Ok, that’s an admitted parenting fail. Now I have the classwork to help us, but that doesn’t stop the fact that the system seems unfair and the common core doesn’t seem to be working in anyone’s favor.

I also found out that teachers need to be silent in this whole process, so it’s up to parents to make an educated decision then rally against New York State if they want this nonsense removed (again, I have an agenda….).

I hope this helps. Please, I beg you to go to the following link, read what is provided and make your own educated decision. I do hope you’ll be as enraged as I am, and if you are, don’t forget to go back to my other links and contact the appropriate people in politics.

http://www.corestandards.org/

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