Common Core Doesn’t Help Underprivileged Kids

I’ve stated this before – Common Core is bad for special needs and minority students. So has Dr. Gary Thompson. Let’s try it again, from a teacher.

Bear in mind that this teacher is fine with the flawed and experimental standards, just not when it is applied to specific sets of kids.

Emma O. taught at a public school in Atlanta where 96% of students are economically disadvantaged for two years through the Teach for America program.

Here’s what she told us via email:

Common Core is well-intentioned with its goal being that everyone graduate from high school “college and career ready.” That’s an important outcome. However, my students struggle with basic proficiency in many areas. Our high school’s graduation rate was 43% last year — and of the kids who did graduate, they will most certainly struggle even if they do go on to college. To me, our main focus needs to be giving kids the basic skills in functional literacy and mathematics so they can graduate or get GEDs, which ultimately is their best pathway to opportunity.

When we try to implement Common Core, we find that the level of rigor is much higher, which is great for kids who are ready. One thing the Common Core curriculum stresses is reading informational texts — this seems really practical, and I like that focus. It asks that kids do close reading and answer text-based questions with evidence from the text. But my kids are reading so far below grade level that they just shut down and feel defeated. Also, as far as I know, Common Core doesn’t really address the needs of students with disabilities.

I’m not against Common Core at all, but at my school, which I would say is an outlier in terms of student performance, we need more than a new curriculum. We need help getting our kids ramped up to grade level before we can address the goals of Common Core. We need counselors to address the serious psychological trauma these kids have from growing up in their environment. We need a discipline specialist and more resource officers, graduation coaches, reading specialists, social workers … It’s challenging in ways policy makers don’t consider.
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Let’s break that down:
1. Informational texts increase each year. They are subjective and we’ve seen questionable selections already. There is no evidence backing the use of informational texts over classical literature for increasing critical thinking and writing abilities. In fact, current research suggests the opposite.

2. Common Core does not address kids with disabilities or special needs. At all. These kids are subjected to the same standards, assessments and tests as all the other kids. Remember, Common Core is not about higher standards but preparing the middle 40% for a non-selective 2 year college.

3.  The last paragraph is where not just Common Core fails but every program before it like Race To The Top and No Child Left Behind. None of them have successfully hit the target of low-income kids with messy homelives. These kids have never gotten the help they needed. Imagine if all the money spent to gin up Common Core was spent on hiring and training real teachers and fully funded real classrooms.

Teach for America is less about teaching and more about politics and received Gates Foundation funding to promote Common Core; over $12 million.

Flashback: Governor McCrory’s Education advisers are Teach for America alums:

Now, about Teach for America — they are less about teaching and more about politics. In fact, Teach For America is not really looked upon in a positive light – at all. They’re kid of looked at as the well-meaning quacks of the education industry bent on destroying public schools.  Check out the scathing reviews on Diane Ravitch’s blog.  There’s more at Mercedes Schneider’s blog.  Let’s follow the money next.

The NCGA gave Teach for America $5.1 million in 2013. Where did that money go? Anyone seen an accounting of how it was spent?  If you search Teach For America, Inc. on the Gates grant site, it pulls up all kinds of groups from the Jim Hunt Foundation to The Center For Teaching Quality. If you break out just the Teach For America grants solo, you get a total of$12,405, 267 million.  Fun fact: Center for Teaching Quality sent several Common Core pushing teachers to the public comments section of the NCGA’s Common Core Study Committee.

About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a reporter currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_ Tips:
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1 Response to Common Core Doesn’t Help Underprivileged Kids

  1. Reblogged this on Femininican and commented:
    Never mind those silly commercials that have chubby women claiming to be teachers who say Common Core is wonderful for all the children, because those commercials are just not true. I have seen first-hand how it undermines children’s education by destroying kids’ natural love of learning at the very time when it should be nurtured and encouraged to blossom.
    Common Core hurts young children, and it is an especially nasty thing when inflicted on special needs children and children who are economically disadvantaged.
    Read the whole article at Lady Liberty 1885.


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