Most people know where I stand on the issue of Common Core, but in case anyone missed it, let me state it firmly and clearly.
I am against Common Core. It violates every fiber of my being as a teacher.
Here’s why I’m against it.
I’m against any system written by outsiders who have little or no educational, classroom experience, but who claim to have the answers to the falsely-manufactured crisis of education in America. A soul who’s never set foot in a classroom should not have dictatorial power over what—or more crucially, how—I teach in my classroom.
I’m against any system that over-emphasizes high stakes testing. I wish it were possible to have a clear, final way to determine how successful schools, teachers, and principals are, but it’s an inexact science at best. It’s difficult to quantify the art of teaching.
I’m against any system that links declining student scores SOLELY to teachers as if we were some magical cure for societal problems. Poverty and social issues are often the core of any student performance, but I don’t see legislators trying to fix those. Instead, they blame teachers. We’re an identifiable target, capable of being fired to please the public mood. Legislators find it much easier to fire a teacher than to fire poverty.
I’m against any system that labels a third grader who fails one test as not being college ready. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to realize a third grader is not ready for college, but that test-label has certainly destroyed that child’s self-esteem. Something that precious is almost impossible to rebuild.
I’m against any system using the word “rigorous.” It has too many definitions and synonyms with highly negative connotations: exhaustive, strict, severe, unsparing, inflexible, Draconian, intransient, and uncompromising. These words should never be associated with American education. I prefer the words strong and vigorous.
Here’s what I support.
I support devising an effective curriculum with input from real educators, classroom teachers, principals, counselors, and child psychologists. Common Core would not be the disaster it is now had the key players included those critical stakeholders from the beginning.
I support respect for teachers, parents, principals, and counselors. The people who devised and are promoting Common Core left these crucial people out of the equation. That’s not a sign of respect.
I support educational leaders who genuinely want to improve education in ways that promote a healthy work environment. Governors who threaten teachers and call schools “failure factories” create a hostile work environment and further erode the system they claim to be helping. Superintendents and BESE Board members who keep promoting charter schools as the solution also denigrate the system for which they supposedly work.
I support age-appropriate instruction. I have seen lessons involving pimps, heroine addiction, marital infidelity, sexuality, obeying government officials, and machine guns. Authors of such material have an agenda, not the welfare of the students, in mind.
I support creating a future generation of people who find something they love to do in life. Taking a high stakes test is something very few people enjoy.
Now you know where I stand. I stand on the side of children, parents, educators, principals, and counselors. I stand for the future.
Where do you stand?