Monday, February 24, 2014

Common Core, A parent's perspective

Common Core. Those two words will either make some teachers twitch and most parents rage. For this parent it makes me sad. 

 By defination, the Common Core State Standards Initiative is an education initiative in the United States that details what K-12 students should know in English language arts and mathematics at the end of each grade. The initiative is sponsored by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and seeks to establish consistent education standards across the states as well as ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to enter two- or four-year college programs or enter the workforce.

Looks pretty on paper doesn't it?Fantastic for those standardized tests.  But not in reality.

The reality of it is, this "initiative" is hurting most of the students it was designed to teach. The reason why so many parents dislike this new way of teaching is because we see the struggle it is giving our children, especially those who have IEPs. Now don't get me wrong, I am sure that this is working for a good number of students. But it works in a way that all students learn on a equal playing field. Which of those of us who do have child that struggle, we know isn't true.

Lets take Student "A" for example. Quick learner, picks up on stuff really fast, does great on tests  Then you have Student "B" who struggles to get a certain concept, therefore is behind and doesn't perform well on tests. I could go on, on the endless examples of different types of students. That would prove my point that not all students are created equal.  So how does Common Core help those students that are left behind in the wake?

Well it doesn't. In this world where we are trying to cram so much into little brains just so the counties and school districts can get high regards on standardized tests, the middle man is left out. We will have a generation of children who think they can't do something because they don't understand concept A B or C. Common core is setting our children up for failure. And with those that are working with a IEP, there is not much hope for them. I have two children that are in elementary school. Both have IEPs. Both struggle with what is being taught in the classroom. One of my children is a quick learner, but has difficulty getting what's in his head down on paper. The other one, who has Autism, is completely lost. And it shows. What is in the IEP doesn't translate on the report card.

I understand that Education has come a long way since I was a student. I didn't have standardized testing. Most of us old timers didn't have it. We had the normal everyday pressure of just getting our school work done. Not having to worry about 6 different ways of doing one simple problem.

As much as Common Core frustrates the students, the parents are right there with them. It makes me sad that Common Core has sucked the fun out of learning for some students. I hate seeing that face of disappointment on my child's face they don't understand but yet there is no time to explain something as they are on to the next thing.

I wish those who came up with this concept had actually sat down and looked at the variety for students they had within their spectrum and not looked at them as numbers but has children who learn. What would be the best way to make sure they fulfill their potential. Not what is the best way to get our numbers up.

I am happy for those who have found success with Common Core, however, for most of us who see their children struggle with it, it sets them up for failure when they shouldn't have to worry about it.