If you have a loved one currently in high school, you should be aware of Common Core, an educational initiative out of Washington D.C. It has quickly become one of the most debated topics in education today.
First, what is it?
Common Core is an educational program aiming to ensure all children are equally prepared from K-12. The program believes it can accomplish this by dictating exactly what students need to know in certain areas such as: arts, language, and math.
Upfront, this probably sounds good; unfortunately, this one-size-fits all program is currently experiencing its fair share of problems and backlash from parents.
Imagine teaching every kid the same exact thing the same exact way, regardless of the student’s ability. For example, most schools that currently use Common Core have all their students read on par with their grade level, even if the student has the ability to read at a much higher-grade level. While the kids who struggle in school certainly seem to benefit the students who want to excel and go above what is expected from them are told to slow down and stay with the rest of the class. You do not have to be an expert in the field of education to understand why this is a very bad thing. In a way it is kind of a socialist take on education, and we all know how successful socialism has been in the past.
Even more troublesome about the Common Core system is the teaching methods employed. This is especially true in the area of math. Common Core’s website claims that they are developing problem solving, critical thinking, and analytical skills that a student will need to be successful. In theory, that sounds amazing, but in reality what they are doing is overcomplicating simple ideas. Just a few short months ago; a disgruntled mother from Arkansas brought this problem to the spotlight in her testimony to the Arkansas Board of Education. She exposed a fourth grade math problem that took 108 steps to solve using Common Core. I do not know about you, but that seems like overkill to me. Problems like these are the reason states such as Indiana have already pulled out of the Common Core Program.
My brother is currently attending high school in the state of Alabama, a state that uses the Common Core program. Frequently, I help him with his homework and find that even though I can find the answer, I cannot properly show him how to document all of the steps Common Core requires he use. I hope down the road states like Alabama will strongly consider revising or removing the Common Core program, as it currently seems to be more concerned with making sure every student is the same, rather than making sure every student has the best chance possible at receiving a world class education.