School Board Member Speaks Out: Common Core = Complete Lack of Choice   9 comments

Guest post by Wendy Hart

One of the things that has been irritating and frustrating me is the comprehension that the end game of all of this is a complete lack of choice when it comes to education. It will only take a few years, because we have jumped on this bandwagon so quickly.

I think, if you get a chance, it is important to note that if Utah had adopted standards in isolation, there wouldn’t be the level of concern. (Of course, that was one of the “selling points”… commonality.) What the State Board says about “being able to change them” is technically true. They could drop Common Core standards at any time.
However, in 5 years, due to market forces, there will be nothing left to go to. Who will develop those standards, and what textbooks and professional development resources will we have? Nada!

When your ACT and SAT match Common Core, when all your textbooks and teaching materials are Common Core aligned, where is the market for anything “outside the box”? It was a brilliant move: 45 states signing on all at the same time. It will make the work of the other 5 irrelevant.

We MUST opt out and get a large group of the other states to opt out PRIOR to the SAT/ACT realignment. Once that’s done, it will be almost impossible to go back. Who or what, at that point, will have the power and desire to change it?

In the end, if I DON’T want my kids “aligned” with Common Core, what are my options? For the short term, I can do private school. But within 4 years, my prediction, just when my oldest is ready for college, the SAT/ACT tests will align, and if I haven’t been “on board”, he will be at a disadvantage. It just makes me ill.

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Thank you, Wendy Hart, for this insightful, important statement.

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9 responses to “School Board Member Speaks Out: Common Core = Complete Lack of Choice

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  1. Sounds like fighting common core is hopless

    • Hopeless? Not even close. The entire Republican National Committee voted to oppose common core last month. Indiana’s pulling out. Kansas, Georgia, South Carolina, Georgia, Utah, and others are writing legislation to pull out. Parents are waking up. Teachers are speaking out. The truth is breaking out of silence and people won’t stand for it. People of honor won’t stand for it. Fight on! We need every person who gets it, to get moving. Write your legislators. Educate everyone you can with facts and documents; truth does beat fiction in this case.

      • Some Democrats have to get on board too, otherwise they will dismiss any opposition as partisan attack. Rank and file Democrats don’t know what’s going on. No way would anybody allow their child’s private data to be collected and sold. They are fooling Democrats with astroturf groups like DFER.

  2. States who volunteered to include the standards CAN change them. Alabama has already updated their 2010 Math and English CCRs, disproving that myth.

    As for alignment across the board, ANY TEXT as far back as 1950s, especially language arts, would be “aligned” to a high degree to the Common Core standards. It’s punctuation, grammar, writing….those things are pretty standard, or “common,” if you will.

    As for teaching “outside the box,” we revere those teachers! Nothing says a teacher cannot exceed those standards and/or employ innovative teaching practices. Mrs. Hart is sorely misinformed, or her state does things a lot differently that we do.

    And for the record, I taught English in a private Christian school for years. There is not a single Common Core standard I did not teach. When I first read the Common Core standards, I was really surprised (I had expected NOT to like them). However, I found the standards are the basis for what good teachers have been doing all along. My only complaint was that I found them somewhat wordy, or verbose.

    Finally, national math, English, History, and science standards have been around as long as I can remember. See these from the 80s: http://www.nctm.org/standards/content.aspx?id=29496 States haven’t arbitrarily decided what to put in their courses of study all these years. They “aligned” with these standards. This isn’t new.

    As long as the federal government doesn’t tell me how to teach, what texts to use, or how to access my students, I’m fine. We’ve had these standards for three years. Those things still haven’t happened, and our state department of education assures us it won’t. They are good people, and I trust them.

    • I have to disagree with you. Common Core has lowered the standards in at least two states, California and Massachusetts. The goal of Common Core is to collect data on every student in America and sell it to textbook companies, employers, etc. The other goal is to dumb down the population, and
      break the nation’s spirit by reducing everyone to drones who are always worried about what’s on the test.
      We don’t want Common Core.

      • I had the same concerns several years ago. I have found them to be totally unfounded, at least in my state. Over my dead body would I allow our curriculum or expectations to be dumbed down. The classrooms are my mission field – I only want the best. I have children in public schools as well. I don’t want a “Common Core” initiative in my state either, if your concerns are part of that. My state only included the national standards, much like they have always done, in our courses of study.

      • Do you have examples of how the Common Core has lowered standards in these two states? I have a difficult time believing it has lowered any standards. I do know that based on extensive research of the spiraling of math foundations that there have been some directional changes at the pacing of standards throughout grade levels. Much of this has been due to the research behind the way the brain develops and makes connections. Much of the Common Core math has been built upon the experience of that in Singapore where they went from one of the lowest performing countries academically to one of the highest, if not still the highest, in math in the world. It has to do with the spiraling, teaching technique, and taxonomy of the way in which math concepts are introduced. To be honest, I’m not sure if that is what you are talking about, but that goes back to asking what examples do you have of the supposed lowering of standards and if you feel that is the case have you done research to understand what may have been the reasoning of such a thing? Quite frankly, I’m frustrated with the lack of understanding so many people have about the Common Core and yet their effort to get rid of it.

  3. What I don’t understand is why you feel if your child is taught to standards aligned with the SAT and ACT, which research proves target college readiness and therefore more opportunity for success post-secondary, would be at a disadvantage. As an educator who has been thoroughly trained in the common core standards, I whole heartedly believe they are better for our children. They are a minimum standard that all of our children deserve to learn in order to be competitive in our global society. I would ask anyone who is fighting against this move, 1. have you actually been trained in what they would teach our children? and if so what current state’s standards actually are more rigorous or more in line with what the college and career world of today requires? 2. Why would it be fair or ethical to say that a minimum standard of learning should not be equal and accessible to ALL of our nation’s children?

    The Common Core are minimum standards and still offer choice in the delivery of teaching and learning. They don’t function any differently than what each state has in place on their own. They simply set a new higher more rigorous and thought provoking minimum standard for the education of all of our children, which will further their readiness for college and the career work force. I think people in general are acting on their own political beliefs and not putting our children first and it makes me sad to think the 10 steps forward we have needed for decades in education are now being pushed back yet again.

  4. I had the opportunity to talk to several teachers about Common Core today. The consensus among them, and they ran from Elementary thru highschool, and were from around the state, was that once teachers get used to it, they will really like it. Some of the points that they made were this: Common Core is not a curriculum – that is left up to the state, districts, schools, or even individual teachers. Common Core does not tell you how to teach the standards, it only tells you what the concepts are that need to be taught. One of the teachers made the comment that Common Core respects the ability of the teachers to recognize what is important. They also said that Common Core builds on concepts better, and doesn’t give too much too soon to the children. At the same, time, Common Core recognizes the ability of the children, by moving what used to be 5th grade vocabulary down to 2nd & 3rd grade. Some schools, districts, or even states have bought the curriculum put out by the Gates, but that is not Common Core, that is a curriculum aligned to Common Core Standards. Common Core is a minimum. Teachers are free to teach other things as well, if they feel that the Common Core is not enough. They are free to teach how they want, within the mandates of their district. One of the things that I like about Arkansas is that they created a crosswalk map, showing the old standards and where they fit into common core. Somethings got moved, but almost everything is still there, just laid out in a different manner.

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