Anyone who has dug into Common Core and complained it has its tentacles into everything and is dictating how teachers teach has been hit with the proponent’s main line “the Common Core is just a set of standards”.
That line is a lie. Any parent paying attention to the proliferation of the eerily similar examples of overly convoluted Common Core math assignments coming from every state who has adopted the Core can tell you that. I’ve had the lovely experience of watching my own child struggle with such an assignment. When attempting to show him the quick, accurate way of writing the algorithm instead of a diagram of some kind accompanied with a paragraph on ‘how they know this answer’, my child melted down and told me, “No mom, I can’t do it that way! It’s not the way we’re supposed to do it. I have to do it the way the teacher did it or it’s wrong.”
Even now my body tenses and my teeth set on edge recalling that exchange.
By the way, I told him he can do it the way that he finds is best for him. That way was the algorithm. He now does it his way first to get the right answer and then puts what Common Core wants on the paper in order to get marked correct. This isn’t customization or personalization of education, this is training kids to jump through specific hoops. It’s not teaching critical thinking, it’s teaching obedience. This isn’t rigorous, this is developmentally inappropriate and serves as a mental beat down for our youngest learners.
Returning to the talking point that the Core is just standards, consider this article in the Statesville Record & Landmark: “Common Core comes to life at East Iredell Elementary“. It talks about putting on a wax museum and oh, how wonderful Common Core is. Excerpt, emphasis added:
Rhyne said the wax museum was a great example of how the Common Core, which promotes collaboration and subject integration, works for children.
Every day at East Elementary, students go through what is called Daily Five station rotations, which include independent reading, writing, vocabulary work, guided reading and buddy reading. Students used the stations to do research, meet with teachers to refine their presentation and practice with their peers for the wax museum. The actual presentation itself fit into the Common Core’s focus on public speaking and writing.
First of all, how do ‘just a set of standards’ promote collaboration and subject integration? I thought that was called teaching? Common Core is not responsible for the success of their presentation — the students and their teacher are.
Second, Common Core’s focus on public speaking? Already established skill sets are being “aligned” to the Core instead of the Core being responsible for some miraculous educational transformation. Just check out the National Speech and Debate Association’s page.
But remember, it’s just standards right?
Anyone who has even scratched the surface of Common Core or knows every the slightest bit about education knows that main line, “Common Core is just standards”, is full of crap. Contrary to the lines proponents of the Core are selling, standards are not some magic, stand-alone item. This is fact:
Standards drive tests, materials and curriculum. They are interwoven and once you have them in place, they are inextricably tied together.
Related Video: Watch the whole thing, but hit the 7:44 mark.