My thoughts about Common Core State Standards

14 Oct

I’m a Florida resident and parent of two children who will be entering school soon. I’m also the wife of a teacher and daughter of two former teachers. I hear and read a lot about Common Core Standards and how they are affecting out teachers and our children.

I do not have an issue with the concept of national expectations for what children should learn in each grade. In fact, if done correctly, that is something like that would make things easier on teachers, parents and children. The problems I have with Common Core are summarized below:

  1. There were very little teachers involved in the development of the standards. Yes, there were some, but they were not the majority. Standards for education should be developed by teachers only. Corporate executives and legislators have no business having input into standards that they will not have a part in implementing. In fact, if you told me that thousands of teachers developed the standards, I would trust the standards completely and not even question them, even if I disagreed with them. In what other industry do people who have little to no experience in a field create standards to be used in that field?
  2. While I do believe there is benefit in a national set of standards surrounding WHAT students learn in each grade, I do not believe in telling teachers HOW they should teach. Common Core is dictating to teachers exactly what they teach and how they teach it, down to how they spend every single minute of their day (this is not an exaggeration). This removes all creativity, innovative thinking and autonomy for teachers, which creates a static learning environment that would not be enjoyable to anyone. I want my children to learn from teachers who have the freedom to think for themselves and design their classroom in the way they know is best, which may be different every year or even every week.
  3. I don’t have have a problem with encouraging students to learn more and achieve more, but doing so in the manner in which Common Core expects is simply not achievable within our current classroom structure. You can’t put a teacher in a room with 20+ students and expect them to provide the personal, individualized attention that is truly needed in order to get each student to excel in the way that is expected. By raising the standards but not giving schools the resources they need in order to achieve them, you are simply setting schools – and students – up for failure.
  4. Common Core is too narrowly focused on core subjects, to the detriment of other subjects that are equally important. If core subjects are the only things that are tested, and teachers’ very livelihood depends on the results from those tests, the common core subjects are the main ones that will be taught.

In conclusion, I do not blame teachers for doing this. I blame those who are forcing teachers to cram so much information down students’ throats that they literally do not have time to ask them about their day or get to know them on a personal level. I don’t want my children to have three or four hours of homework every night. I don’t want them to be pushed to the point where they no longer enjoy learning. I don’t want the best and most experienced teachers to continue to leave the profession because they are treated so poorly. I do not want Florida to implement Common Core.

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