This article will be written without educational jargon, so parents can read it and understand why many educators are upset with Core Standards. The goal of this article is to show parents why they too should be upset about Core Standards. I based this article on my twenty-five years as an English educator, dialogue with fellow teachers, attendance at national (National Council of Teachers of English) and local (Association of Independent Schools of Florida)) conferences, and my common sense.
According to www.theguardian.com, the idea of standards came from the Bill Gates Foundation. And to date, the foundation has poured 170 million dollars into the standards program. While the Bill Gates Foundation had done wonders for education, I am not sure that a foundation married to a large corporation should dictate a country’s education system. More about the Common Core Standards–
What are Common Core Standards?
- Set goals that every child should accomplish (broken down by grades and subjects)
- Adopted in forty-five states, DC, and four US territories
What States are Holding Out?
What is a Core Subject?
- Language Arts
- Social Studies
My Four Biggest Complaints With Adopting Common Core Standards
- 1. The Great Unknown
No one knows who adopted these standards. It is attributed to a group of unknown, unidentified educator advocates, politicians, and higher-ups in Washington, DC. This is scary. Not one name is attributed to the Common Core Standards-the words groups, committees, advisor, and teams are tossed around a lot. When I get my hair cut-I know who cuts it, when my car is repaired-I know who repairs it, when I have surgery-I know who opens me up. But, not one name has been revealed as an author for these proposals at www.corestandards.org. If you do not feel good enough about a product to claim you helped produce it, there is a problem.
- 2. Lack of Creativity
Children have different learning styles. And teachers have different teaching styles. When I have a difficult concept to teach, I have to dig deep in my bag of tricks. Sometimes I need to cover a foundation concept before I can present my intended new concept. Common Core Standards tell me when and how to present my lessons. They kill my creative opportunities. I do not tell my doctor how to operate; I assume his education and his experience will guide his process. If he has to get creative to save my life, he should do so.
- 3. Standards Should Be Relative
I wish all children had the same playing field, but they do not. To pretend that all kids are equal is burrowing one’s head in the ground. It sounds prejudice, but it is a fact, all children are not equal. Economic and geographic conditions do impact a child’s learning and do guide a teacher. I am not saying a child of poverty cannot succeed. It is my hope that a poor child encounters the most creative and hard working teachers in existence. I want the poverty of his family to stop with him. But to say that an inner city teacher uses the same principles as a teacher educating in the middle of Kansas is inaccurate. Have we become so politically correct that our children suffer? Aren’t we supposed to be educating the students in our classroom to the best of our ability based on their needs?
- 4. It is an Educational Trend
All professions have trends. But the field of education has to tread carefully because the guinea pigs are our students. Teachers need to be at the ground level of every single proposed or even considered new concept. For example, open classrooms=bad, very bad. Tests to accompany these standards are being developed as I write this. The mere thought of this is frightening.
I am worried about the US education system. Our comprehension scores are lower than other countries, our graduation levels are alarming, and don’t even get me started on drop out rates. For every one of these problems, there are teachers in forty-five states, Washington DC, and four territories trying to teach children. Their hands are now tied by Common Core Standards.