Rotten to the core

Poorly conceived Common Core curriculum is not the answer

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It’s one of the few things most liberals, moderates and conservatives are agreeing on: Common Core is a terrible idea.

The national K-12 education initiative – promoted by the Obama administration to replace a hodgepodge of state standards with a single set of learning goals – is designed to supplant the much-maligned No Child Left Behind Act.

But critics from all points on the political spectrum share similar Common Core concerns: It undermines student individuality and teacher autonomy; puts too much emphasis on standardized tests; and sets the stage for a federal takeover of education.

Isn’t such a federal takeover illegal? Yes. The 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act forbids the feds from meddling in school curriculum development.

But the federal government, as it does too often, found a loophole. A state that agrees to adopt Common Core curriculum increases its likelihood of winning a piece of the more than $4 billion in education grants under Obama’s Race to the Top initiative.

Georgia’s opposition stalled this legislative term when anti-Common Core legislation backed by Rep. Tom Ligon, R-Brunswick, failed to pass the House Education Committee in the General Assembly. Similar bills in South Carolina and Mississippi also have failed.

That’s a shame, because Common Core is not the silver-bullet solution for educationally “underperforming” states that some people think.

People in the 45 states that quickly adopted all or parts of Common Core are seeing that. Bipartisan backlash in some states has been so fierce that the curriculum had to be rebranded as something else. Florida, for example, now calls Common Core the “Next Generation Sunshine State Standards”; Arizona refers to its program as the “Arizona College and Career Ready Standards.”

Common Core proponents – money-hungry education bureaucrats, big-business lobbyists and establishment-entrenched politicians from both parties – have tried to discredit critics. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s condescension dripped like condensation last year when he characterized opponents as mostly “white suburban moms” who discovered “all of a sudden, their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought.”

On the contrary – some of Common Core’s most cogent criticism comes from scholars at leading think tanks from the left and right, including the Heritage Foundation, the Hoover Institution, the Brookings Institution and the Cato Institute.

Many Common Core complainants are veteran teachers. If you asked your average teacher, you’d probably get this request first: Just stop tweaking education standards every three or four years.

Many educators are critical of Common Core’s overcomplicated processes to solve simple math problems (70 percent of third- to eighth-grade students failed the math test in New York, an early Common Core adopter). Teachers say areas of study are too rigorous for younger students; first-graders are taught about ancient civilizations, for example.

And some lessons are too esoteric; one special-education teacher told a national media outlet that one of her students’ tasks was to draw a picture of the word “nobody.”

Educators and parents have long complained that schools focus too much on “teaching to the test.” Is a newer and more meticulous version of that strategy really the solution?

Not all Common Core opponents are against holding students to a national yardstick. Those have been around for years – the SAT, Advanced Placement tests, the Iowa Test of Basic Skills and others.

What they’re opposed to is implementing an untested, top-down set of standards created behind closed doors. It’s like introducing a prescription drug on the market without testing it for dangerous side effects.

Experts are opposed to voluminous data collection that could violate student privacy. They’re opposed to a plan that moves children, regardless of their talents and goals, together in lockstep like mass-produced widgets.

And they’re opposed to a one-size-fits-all approach. Shouldn’t Georgia students be taught to Georgia standards, as opposed to California’s, Louisiana’s or Idaho’s?

Yet, our federal government seems to be implying that it has it all figured out for us.

Georgia isn’t totally immersed in Common Core. The state doesn’t use the national test that assesses Common Core standards, which is developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.

Georgia opted out of PARCC testing last July. Why? The state realized the cost of PARCC for math and language arts exceeded the Georgia Department of Education’s entire annual testing budget.

That touches on yet another reason to oppose Common Core. What’s all this going to cost participating states? By one estimate, the price of new books, new equipment and additional teacher training skyrockets over the first seven years into the billions of dollars – likely more than states would get in promised Race to the Top cash.

Education is and always should be a state’s right. When states stop sitting up and begging for federal block grants such as Race to the Top – and when the feds stop using them as carrots to push a back-door national curriculum – then states can win back their autonomy protected by the Constitution.

The longer this goes on, the more quickly Americans will realize that Common Core is to education what Obamacare is to health care.

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deestafford
30512
Points
deestafford 03/23/14 - 12:25 am
8
5
I am so happy the ACES has written this editorial....

I am so happy the ACES has written this editorial. I know Michael mention months ago they would get on it. In addition to the editorial I would like to see them do an indepth analysis of the Common Core.

A few of the highlights:

The impression is given that the governors all sat down and developed this monstrosity. That is not true. They may have approved it but it was developed by a Bill Gates organization with heavy involvement by the Secretary of Education.

Jeb Bush is a big backer of this and is going around the country speaking on how great this is. His position on this and immigration are why he is not my favorite for the Republican presidential nomination.

The more successful countries in the world do not have a common core. Most of your totalitarian countries do.

I have looked at the math and English portions of this thing and they are crazy. I've got a college degree with graduate work and I couldn't comprehend most of the math and the English had tremendous errors in it. Additionally, many of the readings in the English and math word problems were filled with leftist propaganda as one used to see in the communist countries.

None of this was beta tested and compared to standard instruction---which currently has drifted far afield of how it should be taught by the way.

Michelle Malkin has been writing some great critiques of the Common Core.

For the best critique I have read can be found at AmericanThinker.com. Go there and google the article, "Everything You Wanted to Ask About Common Core and More" dated July 22, 2013 and written by Ann Kane and the Lt. Governor of NC, Dan Forest.

Also, at AmericanThinker "Republicans Played Again," June 17, 2013 by Ann Kane. In this one the then president of the College Board gushes about how the Obama campaign used data to win elections and he is bring on Obama's campaign director to sell Common Core in the same way. This man is a strong leftist and Obama worshiper.

I strongly encourage all to get up to speed on the Common Core and the danger which lies beneath its surface of rose petals.

myfather15
55844
Points
myfather15 03/23/14 - 04:15 am
8
4
Georgia needs to govern this

Georgia needs to govern this State as if it were a sovereign country!! Be fiscally responsible, living within OUR means and not borrowing money!! If we do this, we will not NEED to depend on federal dollars, especially for education.

We do these not, and we will eventually need them to save us!! That is when they can hold us hostage to the almighty federal dollar!! If we have to cut back on some "entitlement" programs, then so be it!! For those who don't like getting their benefits cut, there are 49 other States you can choose to live in!!

LuvMyTown
2009
Points
LuvMyTown 03/23/14 - 07:08 am
4
4
Keep our own standards then every child can be above average.

Let's keep those low wage jobs coming.

corgimom
36833
Points
corgimom 03/23/14 - 07:33 am
5
4
All I know is that when I

All I know is that when I volunteered in the kindergarten classes, when we had kids come in from other states they were very far behind, with New York being the worst. We hated it when kids would move from other states, it was so hard to bring them up to where we were.

The world has changed, people move much more than they used to, and when children move from one state to the next, it's very hard for them to adjust.

corgimom
36833
Points
corgimom 03/23/14 - 07:35 am
6
3
And I, for one, would be glad

And I, for one, would be glad if there was one curriculum and schools stuck to it, instead of every few years, a "new" curriculum would come along, because it was so much better than the "old" one, and then a few years later it would change again, to a "better" one, and on and on and on.

ymnbde
10396
Points
ymnbde 03/23/14 - 07:46 am
5
3
common core is just a trojan horse given by the O'ducation

department
with this hidden inside
"Earlier this year, the Obama administration issued guidance encouraging schools to abandon what it described as overly zealous discipline policies that send students to court instead of the principal's office."
keeping the incorrigible students in class causes this
THREE SCHOOLS IN RICHMOND COUNTY
HAD ZERO STUDENTS PASS THE AP EXAMS LAST YEAR!
school choice is the only way to give every student a good education
rich people have school choice
yet it is denied to poor people
when it could be done so easy
and the O'ducation department even has "numbers"
"Overall, the data show that BLACK students of all ages are suspended and expelled at a rate that's THREE TIMES HIGHER than that of WHITE children. Even as boys receive more than two-thirds of suspensions, black girls are suspended at higher rates than girls of any other race or most boys."
it is not about education, it is about the utopia that can only live
in the bureaucrat's head
the O'ducation department hides the reality of it's racist results
like it's still 1899
how's this for data?
THREE SCHOOLS IN RICHMOND COUNTY
HAD ZERO STUDENTS PASS THE AP EXAMS LAST YEAR!

deestafford
30512
Points
deestafford 03/23/14 - 08:42 am
2
3
If there is ever an area that cries out for decentralization...

If there is ever an area that cries out for decentralization it is education. The education of one's children are the most important thing to a CARING parent. Caring parents care much more for how well and what their children are learning than some bureaucrat in DC or a state capital.

Competition and control of the child's education money are the two things that can improve education over any other initiatives.

The federal government should have no role in education. None! Let each district and state run its own educational programs and if they see someone else doing a better job they copy it.

Oh, I let rationale escape me for a minute there. I thought we could let people have the power to control their children's education rather than some cubicle-dwelling mole in DC who doesn't even know where Grovetown, GA or Hardeville, SC is. I guess it's all about power isn't it?

GuyGene
1433
Points
GuyGene 03/25/14 - 07:19 am
7
2
Don't know much...

I've lived overseas many years. Every country I know of has a national educational standard and they do much better than America in education.

GA students taught to Georgia standards? They better be taught to world standards!

I reckon about every law is written on a table out in the open on Broad Street, eh? Not behind closed doors? Who wrote this editorial?

We've been so far behind the rest of the world (that uses national standards) for so long in basic education it's about hopeless. But the worlds overseas where I've lived won't tolerate the indiscipline in America in their schools - teacher is BOSS in the classroom. Not thugs nor spoiled brats. I think we need old fashioned discipline more than anything.

And we don't need national standards - we better have INTERNATIONAL standards.

Ok, Chronicle editorial person fixed the "porly". Good. As an add on, whew, it's still amazing to me that someone could have let that slip through. Hmmm, must have attended a school with just State standards...

seenitB4
93912
Points
seenitB4 03/23/14 - 10:09 am
4
2
I 100% agree dee

The federal government should have no role in education. None! Let each district and state run its own educational programs and if they see someone else doing a better job they copy it.

corgimom
36833
Points
corgimom 03/23/14 - 01:13 pm
2
4
Dee Stafford, are you aware

Dee Stafford, are you aware that CC RAISED the standards for many school systems, including RC (which sorely needed it)?

I knew GA schools were bad when I started going to ASU, and the classes covered a lot of material that I had in high school- but that was new to the other students.

corgimom
36833
Points
corgimom 03/23/14 - 01:18 pm
4
3
The school that I volunteered

The school that I volunteered in had many children who were 1st generation American, or foreign born.

They would walk into class on the first day of kindergarten, knowing all the letters, all the sounds, and could already read, they could count to 100, and write their full name.

Compare that to US parents who think their kindergarteners are really smart if they know their colors, a few letters, and considered them REALLY smart if they know how to somewhat write their first name and could count to 20.

It's true, foreign standards are much higher.

corgimom
36833
Points
corgimom 03/23/14 - 01:34 pm
4
2
I've seen the math examples,

I've seen the math examples, and I could do them all, that's what I had in public school.

As for the English part, that's changed to reflect the world today. You wouldn't believe what kids read today. I saw a 4th grader with a Twilight book, and I said, "Does your mother know that you are reading that?" She said, "Oh yes, she bought it for me, and took me to the movie, too." After I nearly fell over, I said, "Oh, ok."

Now, personally, if it were me, the sun would rise in the West before I'd let a 4th grader read a book that contained sex scenes, but it's different today. It's very, very different, Dee Stafford, and the new standards reflect that. They may not be what you or I would consider appropriate, but it's changed. Take a look at what is shown on prime time tv during the family hour. It will curl your hair. Seen The Big Bang Theory lately?
Watched Dancing with the Stars? The female dancers are as close to topless as they can get, and the dancing is considered "family-friendly".

It sure has changed, and in my opinion, not for the better.

The librarian at the school was discarding books- books that I loved and read in childhood. Betsy-Tacy. The Black Stallion books. B is for Betsy.

She said none of the kids check them out any more, they are too "old-fashioned."

deestafford
30512
Points
deestafford 03/23/14 - 01:38 pm
4
1
cogi, You are so right...

cogi, You are so right about first generation immigrants coming to school ready to learn. There parents appreciate what the opportunities they are offered here in America. Unfortunately, many who have been born here and are natives look at the bad side and feel them selves as victims and shun education. That's why a number of immigrants leave some native borns in the dust when it comes to income earnings.

As far as the CC being implemented in RC, I'm not sure it has been completely implemented in the schools here. Could you please provide some data and examples to lessen my ignorance? Thanks.

deestafford
30512
Points
deestafford 03/23/14 - 02:12 pm
5
1
cogi, Just because it's different doesn't make it effective...

cogi, Just because it's different doesn't make it effective.

When we graduate kids who cannot do multiplication tables, use correct English, know the different parts of speech, make change without a cash register, or know American history other than the Founders were "rich white men who own slaves" we are in a world of hurt.

Just look at 87% of black children and 85% of Hispanic children in NYC "graduate" from NYC public schools and cannot functionally read or do math show how bad the education situation is.

One of our problems in American education and one of the reasons our education results have slipped so far in the world ranking is the "educator elites" are always wanting to jump on what the next new trick pony is. Just one example is ''whole word" for teaching reading. What a joke.

We need to do what produced generations of children who were at the top of the educational rankings. All one has to do is look at school exams in the late 1800's to see how far thinking and knowledge has degraded as far as our children and the last couple of generations are concerned.

KasparHauser
368
Points
KasparHauser 03/23/14 - 02:56 pm
0
0
Out of the Mouths of Liars...
Unpublished

Let's see:

The Free Traders and other economic "Screw You We Got Ours" of the GOP shilled for NAFTA, and then shipped jobs overseas, assuring us that the resulting economic reality would merely mean we'd have to adapt to new jobs.

NAFTA creates a US economy where no job is permanent, and a uncertain/"mobile" workforce is the norm (at least, for the REAL wealth creators who actually toil and don't have to wear Rolexes as substitutes for calluses).

Obamacare addresses the reality of the REAL wealth creators needing health care they can take with them as they are laid off... ,er... ,"mobilized", and the Free Traders whine.

Core Curriculum address the reality of the REAL wealth creators needing standard skill sets so they can find jobs somewhere after they are "mobilized", and the Free Traders whine, AGAIN.

Perhaps if the whining Free Traders weren't either the top of the food chain or the "yelling at the TV'"retiree/nameless, underachieving editorial staff classes, none of whom will ever need to worry about finding another job, they would see why both Obamacare and Core Curriculum are necessary in the economy they were so anxious to have created?

Of course, there's also the 'freedom' of Joe-Ja being allowed to teach that slaves really liked being slaves, and the slaves were economically well off, without the interference of the literate, educated remainder of the country (SC, MS, TX, etc. excepted)...

jimmymac
45788
Points
jimmymac 03/23/14 - 04:45 pm
0
0
EDUCATION
Unpublished

Something needs done with education in America. Our kids are falling further and further in math and sciences. They now want to dumb down the curriculum so kids will have an easier time in school. The SAT is scheduled to be changed because so many minorities can't pass the test. Like expecting them to be able to read, write and construct a sentence is culturally biased.

itsanotherday1
47039
Points
itsanotherday1 03/23/14 - 05:42 pm
4
1
Correct Dee. I have seen some

Correct Dee. I have seen some examples of grade school work from the 1800's that was equivalent to college today.

TrulyWorried
16067
Points
TrulyWorried 03/23/14 - 06:30 pm
2
0
Proof Reader for Rotten to the core

must have been off today - Sunday -

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