Before I throw hissy fits, I like to do my research. It usually calms me down and prevents me from sounding like a raving lunatic.
But after reading up on the subject of Common Core, I’m frothing at the mouth like a rabid dog and convulsing with anger. It might be the worst program ever foisted upon the public, and I use the word “foisted” because did you or I have any say on whether Common Core standards should be implemented? We didn’t.
Theoretically, standards are adopted as a way to make sure that students in every state are learning what they need to in order to compete nationally and globally. Practically, that is a mouthful of hogwash. There is no global standard everyone works toward, so unless you think Moldovian kids are doing the same things we are, take that out of the equation. Nationally, giving everyone the same curriculum and standards and expecting them to work the same way in each system is sheer lunacy. It’s based on a premise that all school systems are identical when they are anything but.
Common Core also threatens to make the art of teaching practically useless.
My daughter is in the midst of writing a 25,000-word novel for her eighth-grade English class. This project is challenging, it is arduous and it is beyond the scope of anything I’d ever done in school. And she loves it. Her teacher sends weekly email updates and you can feel his enthusiasm jumping off the screen. Under Common Core, this might not be possible. You might not know this, but the Core standards are copyrighted material, so schools are limited in how much they can change it. This means the ability for teachers to be creative is severely restricted.
Who copyrights education, anyway? What a crock.
I think I’m most incensed at the Common Core take on math. The method discourages memorization and focuses on the “process.” I hate to break it to them, but math is memorization. It is black and white. You either have a right answer or a wrong one. You do multiplication tables until you are blue in the face not to stop the flow of oxygen, but so that you know how to multiply for the rest of your life. Two times two equals four no matter how you try to calculate it.
I don’t want to leave any child behind. What I’d like to do is place children where they can excel. If that means encouraging trade schools for the mechanically inclined, that isn’t bad in my book. If that means promoting advanced degrees for those who master schoolwork, that is a good thing. What isn’t good is creating a giant mass of mediocrity under the guise of common standards.
I could go on, but I’d rather you take this as motivation to do your own research on the subject. Just don’t blame me if an angry mob comes from it.
You can reach Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org to grab a pitchfork.