The CCSS–Time To Start Worrying

The more I read about the Common Core State Standards taking the place of real curriculum in education, the more hopeless I feel.  I don’t see how anyone can think this is a good thing once they’ve had the chance to really see what it’s about.  The Common Core is being sold to us (literally, as the only ones who will reap any reward from this nonsense is big business) as a solution to all of our educational problems–supposedly higher standards, better college preparedness, more rigorous.  I’m scared to death of the Common Core.  And to me, even this innocent sounding name, Common Core, has connotations of tyranny— one definition being “oppressive power.”

This beast is too big to ignore, and I have a lot of thoughts on the subject.  But part of the reason I started this blog was to have a space where I could refer other parents who are also struggling to understand this educational disaster.  So for now, I’d like to share some videos which were recently posted in our Opt-out New York group.  As with the pro-rhetoric out there, I understand that every source has its own agenda.  But these videos do portray a clear picture as to the other side of the Common Core–the one that should scare every single one of us!  Dear reader, once you understand my feelings, my fears, and my frustrations, I will attempt to dissect all the problems I see with the Common Core.

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4 thoughts on “The CCSS–Time To Start Worrying

  1. I listened to the first two videos. There are some points about the monied interests pushing these federal mandates that I agree with. I heard some ideological ‘states rights’ talking points that are your typical dog whistle, fear mongering tactics being used as a political tool. It is too early to tell whether the Common Core Standards are more or less “rigorous” than standards in individual states. In general it is my understanding that the standards in many of the southern states are set at a lower bar than those in the rest of the country. Also, citing the opinion of one professor of Mathematics and one professor of English to debunk CCLS in math and language arts is at best disingenuous. I am not sure that a lot of what is in these videos won’t just muddy the waters for parents trying to understand what the Common Core Standards are. As a teacher, my concern is not with the standards. In fact as a teacher of math at the elementary level I think that the Common Core Standards are much better than what the typical elementary math standards have been in the past. One draw back that I see is that the curriculum starts at a pre-K level and expects that children in first grade have already had two solid years of math instruction, which of course most children will not have had. Also there is always the issue that children are not all developmentally ready at the same time and they do not all learn at the same rate. Standardized Tests that label a child as failing when they are eight years old and a system of collecting and storing data on every child, during their entire school career, are the scariest parts of the education deform movement. I do believe in local control and I do believe in having high standards. They are not mutually exclusive ideas. Thank you for taking steps to start this important discussion with other parents.

    • Thank you so much for your feedback as a teacher! It’s nice to hear a teacher’s response to the videos As with most things, there are pros and cons, things that work and things that don’t work, things that are better and things that are worse. From my perspective as a parent, there were things that bothered me even before watching the videos– namely the idea of standardizing everything across the board to the point that local entities will have no authority to make their own call or change anything. If it were left local, teachers like you that like the new math standards, could use them– and if something else worked better in other schools, they could have the liberty to explore other methods. The videos, to be sure, contain certain elements of rhetoric and fear mongering, but at the same time I was scared even before seeing them! But people can be scared into compliance, or they can be scared into action. I choose the latter. I agree, the videos don’t portray the whole picture, but I still feel they are worth seeing. I think it’s good to get both sides of the stories, which usually means exploring both extremes! Then a parent can start to decide what they agree/ don’t agree with. And that’s the great thing about our country– we are a diverse lot of people. I just think we should employ the same characteristic in our schools!

  2. Thank you for this post! Standardization is not a solution, because students are individual learners, so you are on the very right track. I am a teacher, trained in Finland, and as you can imagine I have very different views about what should happen in contemporary education to make it better. Here in the U.S. I mentor teachers pursuing their masters degrees.
    One thing I know for sure: while the policies must change in order to have better educational system, we cannot just stop and wait for that to happen. No blame-game, just looking into what can/should be done, and preferably acting instead of reacting. Getting parents and teachers to work together and raise general awareness about truly best educational practices is important. And, even while teaching with common core which dictates what to teach, each and every teacher can choose how they teach – just like every parent can choose how they raise their children!

    • Thank you, Nina, for checking out my blog, and I look forward to reading yours as it seems we have very similar interests! I can imagine that education here in the US is indeed very different from your experience in Finland. My husband is Dutch, and he too sees huge differences. But I’m so glad you’re here, helping to raise awareness and create autonomous and effective teachers. Yes, parents and teachers do need to work together. I think it’s a tough situation for everybody right now b/c of how quickly the Common Core was thrown at us. I had no idea what was going on in education before my son started PreK this year. Part of the reason behind this blog is to help me figure it all out so I can make informed decisions as a parent, and help other parents to do the same thing. Thanks again for your thoughtful comment!

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