Essay Contest Winner Cami Isle on More Choices, More Voices

Cami Isle Cami's_HusbandThe last of our essay contest winners, public school teacher Cami Isle, had laryngitis on Tuesday so her husband presented her essay at the rally on Tuesday night.


by Cami Isle

I am a mother and a teacher at a local charter school. I am an aunt and a friend. The children in my life deserve better education than these standards can provide. From the time that I found out about Common Core, a fire has been lit in my veins. I feel with the utmost sincerity that I must fight this with everything I have in me.

I have heard many, even in my own family, claim that these standards are a good thing – that they will help our children have higher educational standards so that they can be more competitive in the world. I have heard teacher friends defend Common Core as if I had attacked them personally. But, I have also heard many voice their concerns about the intrusiveness of the testing and data sharing. I have heard the frustration of students who can’t understand what is being taught using these new and untested methods. I have witnessed the light and excitement of learning being snuffed out of those young people because there is now so much testing pressure, they have no more class time for things like art or music.

I believe that change happens at a local level, by those who are closest to the issues at hand. Parents, teachers and principals have always been the foundation of a good education. And each state has had the ability to make changes based on the needs and desires of their residents. With CCSS and other federal over-reaches, that control has been stripped away, leaving parents with no way to advocate for their children. Worse, good teachers are robbed of their creativity and joy as they must follow strict guidelines and benchmarks instead of having the freedom to teach what their students are ready to learn.

The standards are only a part of my problem with Common Core. My blood boils to know that what was once protected information about students and their families is now available to private companies and government officials. Our children are being used as lab rats so that these companies can view them as “human capital”.

Teaching has never been, nor should it ever be, “efficient”. Children are individuals. They learn in unique ways, have unique interests, and progress at their own paces. There is no possible way to take such diverse individuals and make them fit a one-size-fits-all way of learning and doing things. That is the joy of teaching – to take such a beautifully different group of people and help each one fill his or her potential.

I will take it one step further. I not only oppose the Common Core State Standards, I have my own ideas for what could be done to improve education for our children – the future of this great Nation. I believe that we should have MORE choices, not less. From Charter Schools, private schools, home schools and regular public schools, each parent should be able to choose what fits their student the best. Compulsory education should be a thing of the past. We all know of many brilliant people throughout history for whom the public schools failed. With things going the way they are, the CCSS will effect all of those educational choices negatively.

I also think there should be MORE voices, not less. The censoring that has gone on in forums where Common Core is being discussed is ridiculous. We need to hear all ideas, not just the ones we agree with. It is only in truly listening to all points of view that the best solutions can be met.

— Cami Isle

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