Common Core Curriculum: Educational Stupidity
What Have They Done?
IMO: In My Opinion
I get it, times have changed. They way Math and English were taught 25 years ago is not the same as it is today. In fact, it’s changed several times over the course of my life. My older brother was taught Geometry, Trigonometry and Algebra. I was taught Sequential Math 1, 2 & 3 where they combined the three disciplines and confused the heck out of us. Now they've gone back to separating the math disciplines again.
English? What is English? The language has changed a lot over time. Slang terms became real words. There is a dictionary for texting that includes acronyms as actual words, smh (shake my head). Cultural differences have made standardized tests almost useless since nothing is actually standard anymore. So of course, they came up with something called Common Core, which supposedly sets new standards for all students of every grade. Living in New York, we are new to this system and while New Yorkers adapt well, as most people do, we see through garbage pretty well too.
So far, Common Core has made itself look stupid on so many levels, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to institute it anywhere.
The internet has many examples of Common Core Math problems that are so undeniably moronic that even the youngest students are making fun of them – or showing us how stupid the questions are. Number sentences, explain a number sentence in words. Did a standardized worksheet just ask a student to explain why 2+2 = 4 is the same as two plus two equals four? Do a search for common core math in any search engine and you will find many examples of the same type of foolishness.
As troubling as this is, I’ve come across a bigger problem, two in fact.
Most of the teachers we’ve spoken to at parent teacher conferences have no idea how to teach in the current format. They aren’t allowed to give notes or answer questions. We’ve been asked repeatedly not to tell on teachers who DO give notes – for fear of losing their jobs. What are the students supposed to do – guess? My daughter is a top student in honors classes. When she has questions in class, she expects the teachers to answer so that she can LEARN. What is the teacher there for but to teach the subject and answer questions?
It Would Be Funny... If It Wasn't So True
Group Work Makes Little Sense
Beyond notes and answering questions, many classes are being pushed into doing group work. When it’s done once in a while, it’s a treat for the students to work together (at least it was twenty five years ago). When it’s forced on the students on a daily basis with the same group of kids, it becomes a burden as the group members figure each other out. Even though my child is in honors classes, she is forced to work with students in a group she does not want to work with for various reasons. This leads to all sorts of problems that the Common Core supporters don’t seem to understand.
For starters, kids just don't get along with every other kid in their class, they just don’t. They shouldn’t be forced to work together if they don’t get along well. Certain students are very aggressive while others are very passive, leading to unequal responsibilities within the group. When that happens once on a group project, a student can handle it. When it happens on a daily basis with every project, students start getting angry with each other when things are not done to their own standards, or they feel they are being taken advantage of because they have higher standards than those people in their group. This happens to my daughter on a regular basis and the answer from the teacher is unacceptable.
My daughter has set high standard of academic achievement for herself. She works hard for her grades while also handling after school activities. When she is working on these group projects, she winds up taking on the lion’s share of the work because the others have proven that they won’t do it to her standard. They accept less and so they are fine with doing less. She is angry that she HAS to do the work of others to get the grade she wants, or accept the lesser grade of the group if she lets the work be done by someone else. She gets angry knowing they will get better grades because SHE did the work. Of course, it won’t help them on tests to let her do the work. Long term, it won’t help them that they didn’t really earn their grades when someone else did the work, but she isn’t looking that far ahead. Of course, neither are the administrators forcing the Common Core Curriculum to begin with.
How does this help her in any way?
Her only choices are to take on more work and dislike the people in her group for not doing it, or accept the lesser grade if she accepts what the other group members are offering. Some students are ok doing as little as possible to get by, some don’t mind riding the coattails of the over-achievers, some think bullying the over-achievers is the easiest way to get a better grade. How do any of these scenarios help ANY of these students? Why is the teacher essentially now just a baby-sitter while the group tries to teach itself what the lesson for the class is?
If there was a way to cause more social damage among kids – I can’t think of one.
This Common Core group work standard is inherently made to make sure the students will be upset, pretty much most of the time. These students are now: angry at the teacher or the class, mad at each other, depressed about grades, open to being bullied by other students, and all sorts of other things that DETRACT FROM LEARNING!!!
- How about letting the teachers, actually teach? You know, with lessons and notes and stuff…
- How about letting Math be Math? Numbers shouldn’t be made to look like they are anything but numbers…
- How about giving the students back the ability to earn their grades? Constant group work opens students to all sorts of social issues like bullying
- How about not fixing what isn’t broken? You get out of an education, what you put into it. Students who want to learn, do. Those that don’t want to learn, don’t. We should think of different ways to get kids into school and keep them learning – it’s not about finding a new way to teach it's about holding students accountable for their education.
This Common Core simply doesn't seem to make much sense. It certainly has put the teachers on edge. It's also put most of the students on edge too. Explain to me again how that is helping anyone within the learning Environment. It's just my opinion, but I think these administrators are making a terrible mistake.
Look Around the Internet
As I was searching for images and other information for this hub, I came across huge amounts of "bad press" for this Common Core so I am not alone in thinking this was a huge step backwards. Do yourselves a favor and search the internet. I'm sure there are positives to Common Core but nobody talks about them. What I don't understand is that if so many people feel it's such a bad system, why has it been instituted all over the country?