Common Core Standards
In my opinion, based on what I know at the present, I consider Common Core Standards to be an insidious plan to undermine the basic values of our country. Values, which our founding fathers crafted into our Constitution. A basic premise which I hear is that because students had weak standard tests they weren't as concerned to pass those tests, where with higher standards, they would naturally work harder to learn and be able to pass the more difficult tests, thus they were learning because of the more difficult standards. HUH? Standards drive learning? Why not teach the material as best as possible and the more effective the teaching, the more effective the learning. In this approach, standards aren't the driving force to learn, and the testing is only used to document the effectiveness of the education. “In 2010, a who’s who of American educators and politicians joined forces to spearhead a national initiative with wide appeal and few if any critics. It was called the Common Core. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-defending-common-core-edit-jm-20140519,0,201009.story) Politicians? Why are politicians involved? The following is my understanding. This is most difficult because of the “fog of war” created by politicians with ulterior motives. This is contrary to what ought to be logical – a universal agreement to better educate our children and unity in working toward that goal. Yet the United States keeps falling behind other countries. There is an obvious lack of congruency and therefore all information is questionable in the claim and counter-claim arena of politicians. I will now address this based on my understanding and I fully recognize that I need to research this more – in effect, to become a Sherlock Homes of Education. I will update this “political plank” as I become more educated on this topic, but I'm afraid with all the disparate information, the task will be difficult. OK. The federal government promoted the Common Core Standards with an incentive that if a State adopted them, they would receive some federal funding – great incentive, but why is such a monetary enticement needed if we all agree we must improve our education. I conclude that there are ulterior motives at play. I am an engineer and I instinctively like standards, but I also recognize their importance and the end effect that standards have on performance and cost. With the Common Core standards for reading (for example; a favorite topic of mine) there was a list of approved reading material provided by the federal government. At the start of the adoption of Common Core, a low percentage of the total reading must be derived from the government approved list. With each succeeding year the percentage increased. Obviously, it is logical that if students are to be tested for reading they all must have read the same material. On the government approved reading list is material that does not seem logical to the average parent (me?). In reading some of the Common Core guidelines for reading I carefully note that the focus is on content and not development of the reading skill itself – most curious and I think a telltale indicator of the real intent. Citizens of the United States, please remember history and how the population of a country was indoctrinated with the official government doctrine. Start when the children are young and gradually introduce more social and political reading material. This was Hitler’s strategy to create a Nazi Germany, which started in the schools and it was certainly effective. NO, I am totally against any federal reading list – period! Read my lips. As an additional note, with money incentives tied to the outcome of the Common Core testing, teachers must insure the students read the material from the federal government list and might even be motivated to teach to the test — Good Grief. I hate to think this, but unfortunately there are too many cases in the U.S. where this has occurred. I hear current rhetoric on some commercials promoting Common Core -- are commercials necessary? – why are they necessary if we are all united to educate our children – it is illogical. Some of these only mention the beauty of common standards without the mention of mandated lists and I wonder, what is the real truth? Yes, I must do more to learn about Common Core, and as I mentioned before, this is a difficult task because of the tremendous amount of controversy and miss-information that is presented to us parents. And, because of the controversy, I am inherently suspicious and believe that someone is lying.