Another teacher speaks out against Common Core. This was Noel’s speech she was unable to fully give at the Capitol event. Bolding below is mine.
My name is Noel Lee and I speak as a mother, an educator, and a law-abiding, tax-paying, voting citizen of the state of Utah and the United States of America.
As a parent, the Common Core standards so far introduced are mediocre at best and fundamentally lacking at worst. Massachusetts, prior to the CC, had developed excellent Language Arts standards that were researched and practically applied with excellent results. These standards were recommended to the Utah board for adoption, but were ignored in favor of the not-even-written-yet Common Core standards. Common Core de-emphasizes classical literature in the upper grades in favor of technical reading. This is appalling. Critical/analytical thought is developed through the study of classical literature through many periods in history. Jr. High and High School is the prime time developmentally to explore concepts of cause/effect, personal morality, foreshadowing, use of metaphors/similes, etc. for cognitive development. Technical reading requires vocabulary and practical application to be meaningful which is impossible to do in an academic setting, outside of real-life experiences. It is also tedious by disinterested readers and will actually destroy the fun and adventure in reading. Why should we extinguish the very skill that promotes life-long learning?!
The Common Core math standards are atrocious. Homework from my children consist of math worksheets that are far too easy (a whole page of multiplication problems of 1x__ and 0x___). Others contain unfamiliar vocabulary, concepts, and techniques. I was unable to assist in their understanding because I did not know how it was taught to them or applied – there were no explanations. And I have a masters-level education with classes in calculus! These standards discourage parental involvement!
The testing is excessive and personal data to be collected infringes on my and my family’s right to privacy. Race, socio-economic level, gender, religion, political affiliation, SS#, medical information, etc. are not this states’ business and certainly not the federal government’s business in conjunction with education. I have found no outlined provisions protecting me and my family from obtaining this kind of information under the guise of “education.”
As an educator, I am a speech/language pathologist whose job is to support education and the curriculum by remediating speech and language disorders. This past year with the implementation of math and language arts Common Core, the amount of testing has doubled. I had extreme difficulty in getting students for therapy; many were either testing, reviewing for a test, or discussing answers from the test, interfering with quality learning time.
The Common Core was also too hastily implemented. There were not enough manuals for both teachers and students. Computerized testing systems part of implementation of Common core were not ready at the beginning of the school year and required modifications and training throughout the year. Teachers were told at faculty meetings at my two schools at the beginning of the year that implementation of the Common Core was like “learning how to fly an airplane while building it all while it’s in the air.”
The Common Core math standards fail to meet students’ needs at both ends of the learning continuum. Teachers are given a “road map” that tells them what, how, and when to teach via an internet site shown on a white screen. I observed one 3rd grade class complete the math portion of the curriculum halfway through the 2nd semester (not following the “road map”). This left 6 weeks to study/review for district assessments without any new material to learn. What a waste of teaching/learning time! Another 3rd grade class directly across the hall struggled to maintain the pace required to complete the content in time for district assessments. The students had whole portions of the curriculum that were never learned, let alone mastered, due to the required delivery of content. The Common Core math standards failed students in both classrooms.
As a law-abiding, tax-paying, voting citizen I am outraged at how this Common Core of educational standards was adopted for our children. The people using the standards (parents and educators) were not given adequate time or representation to review the standards, studying monetary costs, and researching validity or superiority to standards already in place either in Utah or other states. Also, adopting these standards undermines the very strength of the American system – striving for excellence through competition, rigorous testing for validity, research and development of best-practices, and consumer choice. We are not allowed to choose from the best to achieve the best.
And, what if I want to “opt out” of the standards all-together? Private, chartered, and home schooling will all be required to use the same standards to prepare for SAT, ACT, and other college entrance exams that are aligned to the Common Core. What kind of choice is that?!
If anything, I ask that the implementation of the Common Core standards be suspended until a more rigorous review is made and before more of my money is spent!