Is Common Core Helping Or Hurting American Education?

Myrtle Beach, SC, Orlando, FL, March 23, 2015

Asheville, NC Correspondent- The Common Core standards began from a place of serious concern. Wide disparities between states in educational achievement are a grave problem of national scope. Differences in educational standards between Florida, Nebraska and New York create difficulties in an increasingly mobile society. Children who move with parents may find themselves ahead in some subjects, behind in others, and confused about terminology that’s vital to their education.

Despite these noble aspirations, the implementation of Common Core has been riddled with difficulties. The greatest resources in improving classrooms are the dedicated men and women who teach in them. Yet, the implementation of Common Core has been done in direct opposition to the American Federation of Teachers. Critics of the union claim that teachers are opposed to any implementation of standards, but the AFT was more than willing to lend its experts and lobbying behind standards implemented in consultation with teachers.

Because the implementation of Common Core has been done without consulting classroom experts, it’s been a disaster. Teachers are unprepared to use the tools that have been provided at great expense. They are facing high-stakes performance reviews based on metrics about which they have not been trained. Students are being tested over subjects they’re totally unprepared for. Schools are in serious trouble and risk losing funding and experienced, professional teachers.

Educational reform is a serious topic and deserves to be undertaken seriously. The capricious, dictatorial nature of this reform does a disservice to students, teachers, and parents. The future leaders of our country deserve a better, more well-considered policy.

Prescott Valley, AZ Correspondent-In order to make sense of Common Core, educators and Americans in general need to understand that Common Core is not a federally mandated program.  By law, the federal government is disallowed from formulating or dictating curriculum, though it seems that the federal government and the Department of Education have a strong hand in sanctioning the program and moving it along a rigorous path for adoption by the states.  Both the 10th Amendment of the Constitution and the General Educational Provisions Act prohibit federal educational manipulation of the individual states and their choices in their educational destinies.  With the Department of Education’s hold on the states through federal Common Core funding, states are disillusioned by the enormity of the program, its cost and its  many upsetting, frightening, erroneous and illegal strategies.

Common Core itself was initiated in 2007 by a group of governors and state education leaders and according to a North Central University report, Common Core’s goal was to establish a single set of clear educational standards for English-language arts and mathematics that the states can share for kindergarten through 12th grade students (a determination of what students should know at certain grade levels as well as in depth controlled critical thinking skill requirements).  The standards were supposedly designed to boost the decline in American educational level rankings, to determine college completion rates, and to further prepare students for both college and careers in a globally competitive economy.

A number of states have voluntarily adopted the Common Core Standards, though some have not fully implemented them and many are now backing away from the standards altogether.  As credible information is revealed as to the discrepancies in the program and the federal government’s manipulation and support of incorporation of the standards across the country, states are fleeing from Common Core, though it may be difficult to extricate themselves altogether from the generalized standards.  Knowledge that the standards are harming rather than aiding American education is the major concern with many educators, parents, state legislators, federal legislators and others.

The detrimental effects associated with Common Core begin with the testing requirements (federal testing consortia) interwoven within the standards, which have raised red flags everywhere.  Educational research has shown that high pressure testing that utilizes student test scores to push standards has revealed little improvement in overall learning.  In addition, analyzing of  the standards has suggested that both the math and English standards, and other subject matter material, require drastic revisions and corrections and should be directly written by those who have either taught at the K-12 grade levels or are true authorities in the field, rather from those outside of education.

Other problems with the standards include the inability of school districts to deal with any amendment process concerning the Core Standards themselves.  Private copyright laws within the program disallow the adjustment of standards through state legislatures and school districts.  Additional harmful effects include insufficient privacy protection for students, the tracking and monitoring of children without permission, ongoing data collection on students, intertwining global standards with environmental and worldwide data, and lowering educational standards to adhere to the Common Core standards.  These harmful effects have sent states into Common Core damage control.  Conforming to such rigid, invasive and irresponsible standards, driven by a political agenda, have created a rejection of the standards by the states.

Common Core is hurtful to education and criticism of its standards, methods and agenda has grown stronger everyday within the United States and disapproval will continue to grow until the program is truly exposed for what it is—a broader agenda of  manipulating thinking and blending it into a one-world education system.   As one of Common Core’s lead founders and financial backers, Microsoft giant, Bill Gates, has declared, “We’ll know we’ve succeeded when the curriculum and the tests are aligned to these standards.  In a nutshell, that is the endgame: a national educational system run from the shadows by unaccountable forces that will ultimately capture the minds of America’s youth at an early age.”

Common Core has spread its tentacles across the country and state education systems will have to ride out the controversial storm it has created along with its far reaching and controlling effects that go beyond the local classroom.  Individual state education programs will face the impact of Common Core and individual learning freedoms will be challenged on a daily basis. Only when the states take real issue with Common Core and confront the standards will the program be exposed for what it is.

Raleigh, NC Correspondent-The condition of public education system in the United States has been a subject of discussion and concern for a long time. According to the well-respected  organization PISA (The Programme for International Student Assessment), the USA public education system lags behind such countries as China, South Korea, Finland, Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Australia, Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Switzerland, Estonia, Poland, and Iceland. As such, American students seem to be failing compared to their international counterparts.

Consequently, Common Core State Standards have been introduced by a working group from the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State Officers in 2008-2009 to establish clear and consistent guidelines for teaching American students math and English Language arts from kindergarten to 12th grade. The aim of the program was to better prepare American students for colleges and future careers.

As of March 15, 2014, 43 states have adopted Common Core State Standards for their public education systems. However, the program has also raised a lot of controversy because some people thought that Common Core State Standards have been harmful to the progress of American public education. The majority of objections center around the claim that the Common Core State Standards have one-size-fits all curriculum and standardized tests which do not differentiate between various talents kids might have. In addition, some parents claim that the Common Core requirements are too high, thus resulting in children receiving lower test scores than expected. Also, many people felt that federal involvement into public education was exceeding its constitutional limits. Parents in California, New York, and South Carolina have even opted to take their children out of schools to protest the Common Core State Standards.

Are Common Core State Standards beneficial or harmful to public education system in the USA? Given contemporary competitive environment in the area of education around the world, every effort which is directed to improve education the children receive should be certainly welcomed. According to www. ballotpedia.org, Common Core places emphasis on improving such skills as reading, writing, speaking, listening, language, media, technology, and keyboarding in English Language department. In math, Common Core is aimed to better such skills as make sense of problems and persevere in solving them, reason abstractly and quantitatively, construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others, model with mathematics, use appropriate tools strategically, attend to precision, look for and make use of structure, and look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning. All of these skills would definitively benefit our youth and help them to stay competitive in the modern world.

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