The Common Core: Keep it or Lose it?

In the recent world of politics, GOP candidates have vehemently addressed that they are not fans of the Common Core, which outlines skills students should learn and know in math and reading by the end of each grade. A recent article explains, “This curriculum puts an emphasis on critical thinking, rather than memorization, and collaborative learning.” In other words, instead of simply teaching multiplication tables, schools are adopting “an ‘inquiry method’ of learning, in which children are supposed to discover the knowledge for themselves.”

Donald Trumps position? “We’re getting rid of Common Core…I want local education. I want the parents, and I want all of the teachers, and I want everybody to get together around a school and to make education great.”

Senator Ted Cruz agrees with Trump, and says, “Common Core is a disaster. And if I am elected president, in the first days as president I will direct the Department of Education that Common Core ends that day.”

The Common Core began as a state-driven campaign to raise learning standards for the nation’s schoolchildren. The goal was to make sure that all students of a certain grade level were on track with one another, meaning that 6th graders in Kentucky were on the same learning track as 6th graders in Connecticut, and so on. The end goal was making sure that these standards were reached, which ensured that they were prepared for college, and the real world.

The backlash began when the Race to the Top program was launched by the federal government. The government was giving education grants to states that promoted higher academic standards, however, that grant money is gone and the new education law bars future use of incentives for embracing Common Core or any standards.

The education law passed Congress in December with obvious support from both parties and was quickly signed by President Barack Obama. The law aims to restore the highly controversial No Child Left Behind Act and greatly limits the federal government’s role in public schools, including its powers to push academic standards.

By 2013, 45 states had adopted the standards. The following year, Indiana became the first state to withdraw formally from Common Core. followed by South Carolina and Oklahoma, as conservatives complained the standards represented a federal takeover of education. Many parents also expressed frustration with Common Core, baffled by a new way of looking at math that left them unable to help their kids with their homework.

Some say that the Common Core will stay solely because states don’t have the time or money to create something new.

Whether it is here to stay or not, here are a few emails from an article that explain the frustrations that teachers and students have found while using the common core:

“They implemented Common Core this year in our school system in Tennessee. I have a third grader who loved math and got A’s in math until this year, where he struggles to get a C. He struggles with “explaining” how he got his answer after using “mental math.” In fact, I had no idea how to explain it! It’s math 2+2=4. I can’t explain it, it just is.”

“I am teaching the traditional algorithm this year to my third graders, but was told next year with Common Core I will not be allowed to. They should use mental math, and other strategies, to add. Crazy! I am so outraged that I have decided my child is NOT going to public schools until Common Core falls flat.”




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