The Common Core Experiment

Apfelgriebsch, Apfelbutzen, Apfel, Applebutt
Apfelgriebsch, Apfelbutzen, Apfel, Applebutt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been reading about and studying this experiment called Common Core for some time. My initial hope was to develop some grand yet simple opinion based on this research that might revolutionize the world. However, as I have been unable to reach that simple conclusion, I decided to write about some of what I have learned so far and some questions still unanswered for me.

I also want to provide resources I have found for you to do your own research and join me on this journey.

I welcome your feedback as that is another way I can learn more and we can learn together. This is one of the most confusing subjects I have ever seen in trying to discern who is telling the truth, who is not, and who is just trying to implement the program because it is a requirement to keep their job.

Just to be clear…so you will know where I am coming from on this issue I am a conservative so any time the federal government expands to take more control of issues that are best left to the states and local governments I am concerned and skeptical of the motives behind those actions. They tend to be mostly power and control related and not in the best interest of those the elected officials were elected to serve. This is one of those issues and I am skeptical that Common Core will actually be what their claims say it will be.

What typically happens is these over-reaching initiatives, policies, or laws are graded on their publicly stated intent by their advocates and not the results produced. There is little or no accountability and adding more of our tax dollars is always the ‘fix’ needed. I am more concerned about the end result of this experiment and the goals not publicly stated being achieved.

Everyone, whether you have school-age children taking part in this experiment or not, needs to learn more about this experiment called Common Core. It WILL affect YOU!

The children in school now are those who will vote and lead in the future so what they are being taught matters to everyone, whether you have children in school now or not. I am not opposed to change or new ideas. I have worked in the computer industry for over 30 years and there are changes almost every day. Change is inevitable and can be good or bad.

When the education and indoctrination of the next generation is at stake I think due diligence is warranted. I am not confident due diligence has been done for this experiment called Common Core. We are talking about the lives and futures of the children of the country now, not a new technological advancement. Despite claims to the contrary by its proponents,

– It is being tested now with those in school now as the guinea pigs.

Too many people are thinking ‘It is not my problem since I don’t have kids in school’ or ‘I trust those making these decisions have pure motives and are doing what is best for the children, and are not making decisions in order to receive more federal funds or fueling their own egos or political power.’

Investigate for yourself and make your own decision and then take action if what you learn warrants it.

Here are some things I have learned

1) There is no Common Core standard curriculum so you have to trust your state and local school boards to select the curriculum and textbooks that the children will be using. Do you trust your state and local board members enough to just let them make these decisions?

There are so-called “social justice” lessons being taught in math and English textbooks by the examples used in both. These lessons might not agree with what you want your children to learn or your definition of social justice. Have you read any of your children’s math books lately? That, along with some of the new methods I have seen for solving simple math problems are concerns for me.

2) Development of a national curriculum is one of the unstated goals of Common Core based on the opinions of at least two educators involved in creating the standards who refused to sign the standards.

3) The Common Core State Standards did begin as a collaboration between states but $4.3 billion of federal stimulus funds called Race To The Top and waivers for states to adhere to No Child Left Behind were the carrots that prompted so many states to so quickly adopt these standards. Alabama did not receive any Race To The Top funds but did receive a waiver for No Child Left Behind.

4)

Here are some unanswered questions

1) Where are the dollars being spent? The $4.3 billion and cost savings from waivers granted for No Child Left Behind is going somewhere. They are apparently not getting to the classrooms or teachers as they are still required to hold fund-raisers or take donations just to have the basic supplies they need to do their jobs. Is the money going to administrative personnel, unions, textbook, testing companies, or political campaigns against any candidate who either questions or opposes Common Core?

2) In setting a standard for at least two unique groups of students, those who plan to further their education in college (College Ready) and those who plan to enter the work force or vocational school after high school (Career Ready), how can this be done without “dumbing down” the existing standards and corresponding tests? We have been told the standards are more rigorous and tougher. How can that be?

Surface Barely Scratched – Form Your Own Opinion

This has barely even scratched the surface and is by no means intended to be a complete discussion on this subject. I plan to write more later as I learn more. One goal for this post is to do what I can to bring more awareness of this subject to those who might not have been following it before or who mistakenly thought it would not affect them. If I have done that then this post has been a success.

A second goal for this post is to encourage you to consider the questions, learn more, think for yourself and formulate your own opinion.

Below are the resources I promised earlier where you can learn more about this subject yourself from both sides of the subject. This is not an exhaustive list either but is a good starting point to learn more.

Alabama State Department of Education

Common Core Issues

Alabama College & Career Ready Standards (CCRS)

Truth in American Education

School Official Explain Differences in Common Core and Local Resources

Reasons to Repeal Common Core in Alabama

Common Core State Standards Initiative

Stop Common Core in Alabama

Dr. Pesta – Common Core Presentation – 11-09-14 – Newnan, GA

Four Seattle Teachers Declare: “We Refuse to Give the Tests”

Until next time…

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One thought on “The Common Core Experiment”

  1. Thanks, Stan, for continuing to make us/ me think critically ( analytically) about this issue. Aside from the Fed.’s use of the “carrot and stick” to garner acceptance, I’m still not sure the devil’s in the standards themselves but rather may eventually prove to be in the textbooks and actual curricula chosen by state and local authorities to meet the standards. Here’s where vigilance will be most critical, even in our conservative state.

    Again, thanks!

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