Common Core - How it affects teaching and learning inside the classroom
Common Core, a highly debated topic both politically and within schools. Some people, such as Governor Rick Perry of Texas, stated that,“Texas is on the right path toward improved education, and we would be foolish and irresponsible to place our children’s future in the hands of unelected bureaucrats and special interest groups thousands of miles away in Washington, virtually eliminating parents’ participation in their children’s education.”
On the other hand, some states were so convinced of the benefits of Common Core that they adopted the new form of learning even before it was even finalized in 2010!
Although there are many debates about Common Core, and whether it should be kept or not, it is obvious, to both regular parents with children attending schools with Common Core active in that state, and to political officials, such as Governor Rick Perry, Common Core is slowly wasting away and failing.
One of the main reasons Common Core is failing is because it was brought it too quickly for the students to adapt to it. For the first time since 1990, the grades and mathematical skills of students have dropped when the Common Core Standards were brought in. The grades most affected by Common Core were fourth and eighth graders. Their scores have dipped significantly. It may have been new topics on the guidelines of each grade, so all of them may have not been covered. Some questions that were brought in by the Common Core for the fourth grade were statistical questions, data analysis, and geometry, all of which have never been taught in fourth grade before. When it was time to test their knowledge, the questions on the test seemed alien and foreign.
Also as stated in the statement of Gov. Rick Perry, the introduction of Common Core eliminates almost all parental and local control over their children’s education. The Common Core standards were introduced in by The National Governors Association and The Council of Chief State School Officers, both of which are two non-profit organizations that are beholden to no federal or state agency or parents’ rights group. If parents have a very hard time getting elected politicians to change unruly laws, influencing a corporate funded liberal non-nonprofit is next to impossible.
Furthermore, the Standards of Common Core prohibits states from changing or modifying 15% or more of the Standards. The other 85% of the Standards cannot be altered in any way by state, parents, teachers, or school districts. Also, the Common Core Standards are referred to as a “living” document, which will keep growing and expanding. We know one thing for sure. The people who will contribute to the “growing” and “expanding” will not be parents or teachers of any kind.
The introduction of Common Core has also killed the creativity of teaching and learning. Teachers who have done greatly in their school have been told to follow a set guide of plans, or they may even be replaced by people who are are more willing to follow foolproof, factory-like, prescribed lesson plans.
Let's take a moment to imagine a scenario IF Common Core was introduced. A student who followed the guidelines of Common Core became a surgeon operating on you. Imagine him having to follow the set rules that were laid out for him, and he had no creativity to stray from his given rules. What if he came across an unforeseen problem that was not stated in his book of laid out rules, and it required a drastic change of plans, yet he doesn’t know what to do. That is basically Common Core in a nutshell. You die. So do student’s educations. He gets fired or retires early. So do teachers who have been doing great in their teaching subject.
And, with the introduction of Common Core, teachers have needed more training on this drastic change of teaching procedure, but they did not get the time they needed. According to a 2014 survey from the Education Week Research Center eight out of 10 teachers felt they needed more training on the standards. A very small amount of teachers report getting training on the commonalities between common core curriculum and prior state standards.
In fact, on-the-job teacher training which has been criticized for a very long for not being very effective, hasn’t changed in the slightest during the introduction of Common Core. In Massachusetts, some individual schools and districts are trying new ways to teach and find new methods, but teachers say much of the training offered by the state has been the traditional lecture format, which most experts agree doesn’t work. Even so, while 90% of teachers take short term teaching lessons, more than half the teachers said that it was not useful to them in the classroom.
Common Core was thought to improve student learning and raise intelligence in the classroom, but instead, it did the opposite. It has also affected the teaching of teachers as well, making them less efficient as before. With the introduction of Common Core, the ordinary classroom has taken a turn for the worst.