Teacher Comments on Common Core

To all the teachers out there who see Common Core for what it is, thank you for paying attention and valuing freedom and a strong education for our children. Please resist Common Core in whatever way you can. Here are a few comments from or about other teachers which may be of benefit to you.

If you are unaware of just how deficient the new standards are, please read these comments by nationally recognized experts Dr. Sandra Stotsky (helped put Massachusetts at the top of the nation’s performance AND just volunteered to give Utah the best ELA standards in the nation for FREE), and Dr. Jim Milgram, international math standards expert who testified to the legislature to help us get our 2007 math standards. You can see what they say about Common Core here:

http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/sandra-stotsky-on-the-ela-common-core-standards/

http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/jim-milgram-on-the-common-core-math-standards/

http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/milgram-on-cc-vs-in-math-standards/

 

Teacher 1

I just attended the Core Academy for math as an elementary teacher and was told for 4 straight days that the common core does NOT require math facts or the teaching of standard algorithms. I was taught how to teach solely using discovery learning or weird, unusable, at least with larger numbers, fuzzy math algorithms which actually make understanding place value unnecessary to solve problems requiring regrouping. What? I thought the core was supposed to help teachers REMEMBER to teach skills and standard algorithms … I am devastated and do not even know if I can teach in Utah if this is the direction we are going…aligning ourselves with Washington state which is all discovery and has some of the poorest performing math students in the country…where they still believe Terc Investigations is great Curriculum. May the saints preserve us all.

Teacher 2

I teach in the ________ district.  Our district is adopting the core and is very involved in training their teachers.  I will be attending meetings at my school to receive training.  What can I do, if anything to keep my job, but not be chained to teaching the core?  Last year, we implemented the writing portion of the core.  I followed the core.  My students did not accomplish as much with the core, as with the program I had been using.  This year, I am quietly going back to the writing program I used before.  This year we will be implementing the core math curriculum, I think I will quietly take ideas that I like, but keep teaching what I know works.  Any advice?

Teacher 3

Last Tuesday, Rep. Kraig Powell hosted a forum in Heber on Common Core. In attendance at this meeting were a number of teachers and administrators including Wasatch Superintendent Shoemaker. At lunch, a teacher who is involved with trying to get Utah off Common Core, was speaking with Sup. Shoemaker and another long time teacher’s name came up that this teacher had student-taught under. The Superintendent told this teacher how fortunate it was that she student-taught under her because she was a master teacher. She told the Superintendent that this long time teacher told her she wasn’t thrilled with Common Core and the Superintendent replied, “I’m not surprised, a teacher like her wouldn’t be.” The exact note this master teacher had sent her was “too bad districts aren’t questioning [common core] instead of parents. As a teacher, I am having common core shoved down my throat. We’re back to the 70’s. Way to go on your endeavors. :)”

Teacher 4

I am a 3rd grade teacher at a Charter School in Utah. I am becoming very frustrated with Common Core, and I am starting to feel helpless, and feel that I am failing my students, which will one day affect me as they grow up and enter the workforce.

I attended the Math CORE Academy this summer and was told that Utah is not going to suggest a math book that will meet the new standards, instead I have to use whatever math book my school is using  to create work for the students. It is incredibly difficult to teach the Common Core using Tasks with the math book we have, and I imagine it is just as difficult with any math book. First of all, it takes 2-3 hours to create a Task using a math book, I had to help create 2 at Core Academy. Secondly, the instructors encouraged us to leave out key pieces of information so that the students could construct their own knowledge. I cannot imagine elementary students doing well in Algebra or Calculus after spending years learning that whatever number they come up with is correct. I am frustrated that students are required to make a guess to solve the problem, and of course, they are correct, because any number they choose would work. They would then see that their classmates all chose different numbers, and yet all of the answers are correct? How confusing for an elementary student! I have decided to send these Tasks home as extra credit so that the parents in my class can see what to expect in the next school year. I am sure I will get many complaints that the problems are unsolvable, because important information has been left out! I believe that math has right and wrong answers, and that teaching students that any answer can be correct is foolish.

I am so upset that cursive has been removed from the Core! I had such a successful year last year teaching cursive. When I ask students during the first week of school what they are excited to learn in 3rd grade, at least 10 students say learning to write in cursive! I already had 2nd graders telling me they were so excited to be in 3rd grade so they could learn cursive. I am then supposed to deny them something they want to learn!? That is absurd! Even before the actual cursive instruction began, I had many students trying cursive on their own and asking if they were doing it correctly. My students became better readers because they learned cursive last year, seeing italics or cursive in books did not confuse them any more. Most of my students handwriting improved considerably once they could write in cursive, especially the boys’ handwriting. If I can’t teach cursive, the students will miss out on developing those fine motor skills- many suggest typing, but my students will only get keyboarding once a week, and yet I have set aside 20 minutes each day for them to learn cursive. I think it is also a way of self expression. I write in cursive all of the time; my signature is part of who I am. So, this generation will not be able to create a signature for themselves? Nor will they be able to read any handwriting other than print. It is so much fun for me and my students when I write on the board in cursive and they can read it! How empowering for them! They are all able to write faster in cursive, and even in third grade they realize this. They are learning to concentrate, and focus their attention- which is very helpful for all other areas of learning. They are learning to slow down, and watch what they are doing. They are learning the you have to work hard to get good at something, and yet they improve quickly enough that they are motivated to stick with it, they can see week by week that they are getting better. They are learning that practicing something over and over will help you get better. These skills are, in my opinion, only found in handwriting. There is nothing else that I can teach them that they can see improvement day by day, and that they can see themselves getting better at. Writing, math, science, social studies- none of these can show the student progression, nor help in motivating a student to keep trying. I am hoping that I can change my administrator’s mind about letting me teach cursive, but if they don’t I will certainly make sure the parents of my students know that I feel it is an important skill and I suggest that they teach their students at home.

If it comes down to being on the principle’s good side or doing what’s best for my 28 students, I’m going to do what’s best for my students. If I get fired, then I’ll look for another job and hope I can find one.

15 Responses to Teacher Comments on Common Core

  • Teacher 5 says:

    As a teacher, I am truly concerned about the direction Common Core is taking our children’s educations. We implemented Common Core Math in our district last year. As a first grade teacher I am super frustrated with the curriculum we are spoon feeding our children! My little 6 year olds come into my classroom with varying abilities. Some are very capable and learn quickly. Others are far behind. Imagine teaching them to regroup when they can’t count to twenty or even understand what twenty is! We are pushing these children faster than they can run! We need to spend more time developing a foundation to build math skills on. If understanding isn’t there, math becomes an exercise in frustration that follows them throughout their entire school career.
    I do not teach cursive in first grade, but I do use it to teach children to print letters correctly, showing them that there is a reason we make letters the way we do. Learning to write cursively is a ” right of passage” for children. It acts as a motivator.
    We are teaching so much curriculum that we don’t have time for things that make learning fun. I am concerned that we are pushing our little ones so hard that we will burn them out and our drop out rate will skyrocket in a few years.
    It is time we take two steps backwards and return the decision-making to the classroom teacher, local administrators and parents instead of allowing people who have little classroom experience to make decisions on our behalf! Federalizing education is not a good idea.

    • Cheryl Wilson says:

      I just got through looking at the math common core standards for 1st grade. Where does it say kids have to regroup? Your frustration comes from the fact that you don’t understand the standards and the pedagogy behind them. Get more PD, Utah!

      • LH Smith says:

        I did look over the standards for first grade… and I’ve seen my son’s first grade homework, and worse the 3rd grade homework, and I see exactly where the regrouping is in all of those things. I taught my 3rd grader how to do the math problems the way I was taught and watched a light bulb go on for him. He said, “Ohhh! Why don’t they show us this way mama? It makes more sense.” Even a child can see through this stupid “fuzzy math”.

        • Lori labrum says:

          The Common Core does not say which way to teach the standards such as regrouping. The common core simply states that various methods will be taught. Those methods are most likely from the textbook your local district has adopted. Most teachers realize that not every method works for each child, which is why some students just didn’t get it before. A good teacher will help each student find the way that works for them. But it isn’t directed by the common core. I have taught third grade for28 years. From experience I know a classroom of 32 kids will usually require at least 4different ethos to help ALL children. I applauded you for helping your child. But please realize the problem does not lie in the Common Core but the textbooks from the district.

          • Oak Norton says:

            Lori, the problem isn’t just the standards. They are mediocre, but as you pointed out, textbooks are a problem, data tracking of our children is a problem, assessments are a problem, and the way the USOE opted to integrate math in upper grades is a problem. The USOE created their own “textbooks” that aren’t even textbooks. They are problem sets designed to let teachers use a constructivist approach to teaching which is nonsense and prevents parents from being able to help their children with their math.

      • Scott M Romig says:

        Common core should be banned from all public school systems nation wide! It truly promotes the dumbing down of our children’s educations. Its no wonder why the United States is quickly falling to the bottom of the scale on a global level. I have a daughter in 2nd grade and am seriously frustrated with her Common Core Math lessons. I use math and mathematical calculations on a daily basis for my career. I am college educated, but i don’t understand the purpose of her homework. We are not educating our children to be successful in the labor force using these weird and pointless methods.

  • Lisa Jackson says:

    The problems teachers describe here are more than curriculum or standards & objectives problems. They are “nobody listens to the teachers or parents or school board anymore” problems. The true problem is that the Executive Branch wants to take away all states’ rights, so that states’ rights no longer exist. States’ Rights are part of the “checks and balances,” and now that we are losing them, we must give all we’ve got to get them back. If we do not, we are putting money (money for education) over freedom, by handing over our checks and balances rights, so that the Executive Branch will have nobody to do the checking and the balancing with them anymore. Then, does the “and to the Republic for which it stands” in our pledge of allegiance, mean anything at all? It wouldn’t, because we would no longer be in a Republic. If you have not read “Animal Farm,” read it, and read it with your kids. We are headed to a bad situation, one in which the Executive Branch has so much power, that nobody can do anything about it.

  • Kathryn says:

    I am not a teacher, but a parent of a 3rd grader, and I have to say Common Core stinks. If you are going to implement a new way of teaching then you need to teach the parents the techniques. I cannot help my child at all. She is so confused. Worksheets give little to no instruction and are missing information that is key to solving math problems. Math is not a guessing game. When she brought home the worksheet for graphs there were no identifiers. If I provided a graph like that in a business meeting I would be fired. I have yet to see a question about a reading assignment that isn’t completely vague. My daughters standard answer to ” why might this author have written this story”? Is ” to entertain us”. I thought she was being a smart alec, until I saw that the teacher graded her answer as correct. I now read all of the books and stories that are assigned and make up questions that will cause her to think about what she learned or why she liked/disliked the story. I want her to understand what she is reading.

    The other thing I don’t like about this is that I no longer get graded assignments sent home. Apparently, the teacher needs to keep them so she can see how a child is progressing. Umm, I too would like to know how she is doing. Grades are one thing, but if I can’t see her work I can’t tell what she needs help with. Also, the teacher does not have the kids fix their mistakes. She does it for them, and moves in to the next lesson. Someone please tell me how anyone learns this way?

    My child is being robbed of her education, and I feel helpless. I’ve always thought school was a necessary part of a child’s development, but I’m now seriously considering homeschool.

    • Brian Vincent says:

      Kathryn, the whole point of this program is so that you can NOT help your child. Someone developed this ridiculous, unproductive teaching and learning method with one of the primary goals being that parents can NOT help their children effectively. Why? So that no child will have an advantage over another child (you know, the ones with parents that care!) The whole system is SOCIALIST and designed not to help kids learn to succeed but to make them all fail equally miserably. I am a parent of two such children as well.

      One clue that the whole program is fraudulent and coercive – NO BOOKS are brought home, at least not in elementary school – again, so that parents can not figure out how to help their children.

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“…a student attains ‘higher order thinking’ when he no longer believes in right or wrong. A large part of what we call good teaching is a teacher´s ability to obtain affective objectives by challenging the student’s fixed beliefs. …a large part of what we call teaching is that the teacher should be able to use education to reorganize a child’s thoughts, attitudes, and feelings.” — Benjamin Bloom, psychologist and educational theorist, “Major Categories in the Taxonomy of Educational Objectives,” pg. 185

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