Rotten to the Common Core
October 13, 2015
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Terrified of the shocking results of the 1990’s International Math and Science Test, the United States scrambled to bring up our test scores from near bottom. Programs like No Child Left Behind of 2001, Race to the Top of 2009, and now Common Core swept the nation in a childish attempt to redeem ourselves as the world champion. However we students recognize: No Child Left Behind means all children are left behind, Race to the Top becomes a rat race, and standardized tests are rotten to the Common Core.
“The standards dumb American education down by about two grades worth.” said Sandra Stotsky, a professor at the University of Arkansas and collaborator on the common core standards, in a Daily Caller interview.
Such federal takeovers of education have been proven to only raise up the bottom ranking states like Mississippi and Louisiana, while hindering excelling states such as Iowa and Maine. By attempting to raise the bottom to average you begin to neglect any students at the top, thus preventing our country from improving on international tests.
But international affairs aside, Common Core also holds a negative impact at home. The standards directly affect our parents, teachers, taxpayers and us students, leading to many unexpected consequences which often go unaccounted for in our stride to international improvement.
Common Core silences parents’ say in their children’s educations, limits their choices, as well as infringes on their privacy. Due to countrywide standards, public educated families are not even left with the chance to move their children to a better school district.
Furthermore, even homeschooling and private schooling are not safe from the hand of Common Core. Officials from Oklahoma explained to the Council of Chief State School Officers at the National Conference on Student Assessment in 2011, that federal education policies are moving to expand their longitudinal databases to cover student groups not included in the data system i.e. home-schooled and private schooled. This federal infringement on privacy should not go unnoticed by the populous.
Meanwhile it is not only privacy that citizens should be paying attention to. Contrary to what one would believe, taxpayers pay a hefty price tag for Common Core while the education of our country is not actually improving. Pioneer Institute estimates implementation of common core will cost state taxpayers 15.8 billion dollars across the 48 participating states and DC. However, that is not all. This figure does not include the costs of reforms such as performance-based compensation or reduced class sizes which a student would need in order to excel standards.
On top of the lack of resources, teachers now have little control over what they can teach in the classroom and we face a horrific system in which teachers pay is linked directly to students progress. Merit-pay opens up a world of possibilities for corruption in the system, perhaps most frighteningly the possibility of terrified teachers causing their students to fail initial tests thus any improvement, i.e. basic learning that takes place, leads to student improvement on account of the teacher.
As well as scandalous actions, teachers are faced with limits to what they can teach students. Critical lessons, units, readings, and Honors/A.P. courses are being skipped to make room for the new standards, which are ridiculous in themselves.
For example, kindergarten language arts proposes teachers instructing students of the component skill parts which they will be tested on, rather than teaching students how to love reading and understand the texts. These component skills are similar to looking at a water molecule; we should be teaching students the whole molecule, however we are breaking it down into its hydrogen and oxygen components and no longer making water.
Component skills also do not account for a teacher’s need to adapt to different learning styles of children. All children are unique and learn in slightly different ways. Common Core gets rid of a teacher’s ability to adapt teaching styles to fit these differing learning styles.
Because of this, it is no surprise that while the government requires 100 percent of students pass the Common Core standards it predicts that 60 to 70 percent will fail. Common Core replaces any sense of humanness in our education leaving students with standards two years behind them, an education composed of ‘teaching to the test’, and no way to excel in schools.
To me and many others it is confusing why perhaps one of the most dysfunctional aspects of our education system has become such a central part of it. We as students, taxpayers and citizens are faced with the cold hard facts that programs like Common Core do not have impact on our international rankings. We watch the drawbacks of Common Core on parents, taxpayers, teachers and students and I cannot help but wonder why we do not seek to take our educations seriously and expose the rotten core within.