This story bears repeating. I first became aware of Common Core by being shown a text assignment to a student. It was inane. When I asked at the beginning of the year what literature they would be studying, the room I was in was told by the instructor that there was no literature in the curriculum. Now it is time to finish the rest of this story. This student you may remember was brilliant in his non Common Core English class the previous year (2011-2012). This year he squeaked through with a C- though his DCAS scores were all in the high end. The other courses’ grades were consistent across both years. There appears to be a problem with Common Core.
In the past I have described Common Core as a sausage. If made with the right ingredients it can be great. My post right below this one shows how. But the problem with Common Core as with a sausage, is that until one cooks and eats it, one does not know what is inside. its insides are not shown to the public before it gets sold. If it is shredded beef, it is a good sausage. If it is cooked pork, it is a good sausage, It could be Grade A chicken, turkey, or lamb; no one knows until it is cooked and eaten. But what if it is poop? Simply poop scooped up from the floor of a poultry farm, stuffed into an intestinal casing, tied at both ends, and looking like any sausage, it gets picked, cooked, cut into, and eaten.
Earlier this spring we had a blogger’s frenzy here in Delaware as we tried to determine what exactly was in Common Core. We finally found the standards and for the most part, thought they were ok. We deduced that the problem lies somewhere with the meat processors who are creating this educational sausage without any oversight or accountability. They’ve figured how to make money, and students/parents were being cheated in the process..
So then, the biggest problem with Common Core is that it is run as a business, not just any business but as a monopoly. There is no competition between opposing curriculums so one must take whatever one is given. Llike any monopoly, this business isn’t worried about keeping the customer; it is worried about its bottom line.
The second largest problem is that Common Core program completely ignores the fact that outside influences, particularly poverty, impact education. It waves a magic wand in its calculations and then proceeds to ignore that students who have a huge issue just trying to survive that day, can’t do well in school.
So, here are the issues:
A) Common Core stifles innovation. School becomes boring and learning takes a back seat to all other activities.
B) Common Core and Standardized tests go hand and hand. Test at the beginning and at the end. The accountability piece attached, means the tests must be passed; the stakes are very high. Therefore teaching to the test is what we shall get. Students won’t know how to solve life’s problems unless it is on a standardized test.
C) There is no public input into Common Core. It if is bad, too bad. All students will digest it anyway. No school board, no General Assembly oversight, nothing. It comes straight from the developer to your child.
D) The standards are too low. In and effort to narrow the achievement gap, the levels of knowledge are dumbed down so all students will have the same low basic level of knowledge. No more will the affluent white schools outperform inner city problematic ones. We will teach the exact same to both; they won’t be taught any differently.. The Core material is the same for all schools; students at both will easily pass it. There are no higher state standards anymore, simply because if there were, the achievement gap would continue to grow, not shrink. We are closing the achievement gap primarily by bringing the top end down, not the bottom end up.
E) The repetitive standardized tests will tell a lot about one’s child. Especially over time. Common Core is collecting data on every child, which can then be sold to highly interested Corporate advertisers. It tracks every child after leaving school across their entire work-path through out their career.
F) Common Core has a super high price tag. $16 billion over 7 years. One has to buy copyrighted lessons from a supplier because they go hand in hand with the questions on the final test. All those packets and that software isn’t cheap. Of course, data miners and data transcribers have to be hired to read and explain the data to teachers, principals, and administrators. The money could be spent elsewhere in the school and perhaps to more good.
G) Common Core by making everyone study the same thing at the same time means that no one will know anything else outside the Common Core agenda; the national data base is narrowed. Under the current somewhat haphazard individualized approach we had up to now, people matriculated to that area in which they were most interested. Later when an employer puts people on a team, over the width of the group there is a diversity of opinion upon which to draw for the best solution. But when everyone knows exactly the same thing, has the exact same shared experience, there could be trouble. If you always do what you always did, you always get what you always got.
H) Common Core is being figured out on the fly. Legislatures signed on before knowing any details.
I) Common Core Standards were not created by the states. They actually supplement the state standards previously in place. No, Common Core Standards were developed by corporations in Washington DC, with the lavish funding by the Gates, Broad, and Walmart foundations. These standards they created are not intended to develop doctors, lawyers or teachers, but to develop first year entry level workers for corporations.
J) Common Core standards are designed not to prepare students for entrance into a four year college or university, but for two year programs or four year programs in a community college. In that sense they are much lower than almost all of those state standards which they are replacing.
K) Common Core in that it is being forced by the US Department of Education onto the states through strings attached to basic funding, violates the Federal Statute prohibiting the Fed’s direction, supervision, or control of curriculum.
L) Common Core Standards are not developed by anyone remotely accountable to parents. They are copyrighted standards owned by large educational corporations, completely unaccountable to either legislators, governors, school boards, teachers, parents , or students.
M) Common Core is like a virus that implodes one cell, then scatters replicates to attack and implode other cells. With Delaware’s passage of SB 51, Common Core standards will now begins watering down our great teaching schools within the University of Delaware, Delaware State, and Wilmington University. As it does with the curriculum in public schools, it will be substituting weaker Common Core Standards for more stringent state standards involved especially when it comes to teaching teachers how to teach.
N) There are thirteen issues above that need addressed. Yet this faulty program is being used to fire teachers who are only arbitrarily accountable to test results based on this faulty program.. Even good teachers in poor income school districts will lose their jobs, as factors outside the school such as that area’s poverty, pulls down student scores below the acceptable level, and those teachers must suffer the consequences. Impoverished schools will become closed for the same reason; test scores were too low. High stakes testing is for high stakes. Yet there are so many multiple factors impacting those test scores out of everyone’s control. For every teacher, every new school year is metaphorically like charging across the fields of Gettysburg inside of Pickets Charge; you just hope in all that mass madness, a bullet or cannonade’s grapeshot does not find you. Your fate is completely out of your control. Common Core has begun and will continue to cost us many great teachers who up to now had turned many young children into upstanding citizens.
Done. Notice there is no agenda 21 listed. That is an issue which lies in a different arena ( a political one) and is not part or this issue which is how this poop gets dressed up as a sausage. Both Jack Markell and Educational Secretary of Arne Duncun have recently tried to deride each and everyone of those against Common Core, as being kooks fearful of Agenda 21 and perhaps even SPECTRE.
I think this short list illistrates there are serious problems with Common Core. In fact, this problem is so serious that recently Michigan, Pennsylvania, Utah, Alabama, Indiana, Missouri, Georgia, South Dakota, and Kansas have passed or tried to pass legislative bills controlling or stopping the impact of Common Core upon its students. None of their reasons came from what Arne Duncun or Jack Markell dismissively alluded. They come from the very real concerns mentioned above… Parents of children bring home Common Core materials, are leading the Common Core pushback.
Bottom line: as illustrated here in Delaware with the student whose example leads off this post, Common Core is bad for students. They can’t succeed living on just poop…. stuffed into an intestinal casing, simply because it gets stamped in black food ink, “Common Core; Quality Grade A”