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Common Core Part 1: Ten Things You Didn’t Know

Common Core. It has become a well-known term in the family these days. As our children come home with piles of worksheets and take assessment after assessment.  I have to wonder, what good it is actually doing them?  So I decided to take up the challenge of doing some research on the topic. I wanted to try to get through the muck of all the media hype and marketing surrounding it and decipher the truth about what we need to know, where it came from, and if it’s actually helping our children.

Because I am sure many of you are just as confused as I was, l wanted to help all of you. Over the next few weeks I will be taking everything I have learned and breaking it down for you. Making it more manageable and highlighting the truths I have found about this standard form of education. Today I present: Common Core Part 1: Ten Things You Didn’t Know.

Common Core, The Facts

  1. Common Core is causing a devaluation of History
    • Common Core focuses only on 2 areas of study: English and Math. the new English Language Arts (ELA) common core standards require teachers to teach about historical documents, yet they have no context. The context and truth that belong to these historical documents are not the focus for the standards, therefore are not being correctly relayed to the students.
  2. More tests! Why are the students taking so many tests?
    • After the initial scores returning low, rather than eliminating or reducing the testing requirements “the new assessments will extend it will pre-tests, interim tests, post-test, and computer-based ‘performance assessments” (Rethinking Schools)
  3. Before implementing the standards across America, the new curriculum was not tested in a working school environment. Nor had it been made clear as to how the standards “compared to internationally bench-marked standards” (USA News)COmmon Core
  4. Common Core was implemented in 41 states, 4 territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA).
    • The states that did not adopt common core standards include :
      • Wisconsin, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, and Puerto Rico.
  5. Common Core Standards were designed by the efforts of the National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and Achieve, (a private consulting firm). The work group consisted of only 25 individuals. 
  6. Common Core Standards were drafted by the work group of 25 individuals
    • of which, “six were associated with the test makers from the College Board, five with the test publishers of ACT, and four with Achieve. Zero teachers were in the work groups.” (information provided by Education Week Blogger and Science teacher Anthony Cody Problems)
  7. The federal government has no constitutional right to regulate our states educational system. It was imperative that Common Core be adopted by the states individually.
    • In order to get the states to adopt the standards, the federal government required the states to accept the standards by making them a condition of receiving federal funding. Common Core
  8. Funding for the initiative came largely from the Gate Foundation. Bill Gates and his wife offered upwards of $160 million dollars to fund the creation and implementation of Common Core.
    • All the while continuing to send their children to Lakeside School in Seattle. Lakeside’s website and curriculum mention little to noting regarding their adoption of the common core standards. Leading one to believe they have not accepted the standards Mr. Gates so proudly funded.
  9. According to a study done by Andrew Porter, University of Pennsylvania Education School Dean, “the new standards put greater cognitive demands on students”.
    • Initial thoughts on this would be that this is a good thing! You must look closer at the bigger picture. On one hand, the schools are demanding more cognitive skills. While on the other hand we are eliminating a child time for learning this skill. Recess is the foundation of where children develop their cognitive abilities! (See my article on how to Fight for More Recess for more information)Common Core
  10. Throughout American History, a standardized curriculum has been proposed.
    • The Reagan administration’s National Commission on Excellence in Education proposed a national intervention in 1983
    • And in 1989 President George H. W. Bush’s National Council on Educational Standards and Testing recommended a national curriculum based on highly similar arguments. They stated that falling test scores and international economic competition required a reform. In the end, the authority was left at the local level.

What have we learned? 

Overall I believe what we have learned is that not everything is what it seems. If you follow the money it originates with Gates Foundation, and was used to fund an initiative claiming to better our children. An initiative that was pieced together by people not familiar with the actual needs of the children. They were not the one in the trenches every day working with these kids. (Sounds a lot like many organizations that implement processes without knowing how it works.)

Focusing on two subjects while minimizing others, and removing some others all together. Some that were removed were key life skills. All while tying it’s acceptance to school funding.  Something so necessary for operation by some of the impoverished schools. This requirement has allowed the federal government a way around the constitution restrictions on education.

I am not sure about you, but after my son coming home with worksheets of modeling homework, and seeing these facts laid out. well I’m sorry but I am just not convinced yet that it in our kids best interest. Worksheets, by the way, that take him hours, while actually multiplying the fractions takes 20 minutes. But I will continue my research and let you be the one to decide.

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19 Comment

  1. I’m in Texas, but still found this very interesting. I also plan to homeschool my two young boys to make sure they do receive a proper education instead of leaving that up to someone else.
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. This is a great overview. I didnt realize how common core worked. It really doesn’t sound great and this is something I’ll have to keep in mind with any kids in the future.

  3. Very informative. Thank you I have learned so many things. Children nowadays spend their time doing their homework and reviewing for tests. With this, they don’t have time for their families.

  4. Though I no longer have school-age children, I think it’s always important to be informed about our country’s education system. Thank you for the primer on the Common Core- it definitely makes me want to further research the history and efficacy of the program.

  5. I didnt realize that this is a standard implemented in the curriculum in the US I feel as though the education system is programming kids to be robots instead of nurturing them in all aspects of their being.

  6. What an informative post! This is fantastic. I was never a fan of tests like ITEDs. We had to take these in school every year and were forced to test for hours. I’m glad that I am out of school and over it. I just feel sorry for the kids now days that have to do even more!

  7. I have never heard of this type of learning. Overall it doesn’t sound good. I am a firm believer in no homework policies, kids spend enough time in desks.

  8. I litterally don’t know much about common core at all. But i hate it! It is not something that is ever going to be done in real life and there is no reason to know it other then too pass some stupid tests.

    1. What do you mean never done in real life? I’m not going to day I love common core, but in theory it’s a good idea. All medical professionals have to pass exams related to their field, all lawyers have to pass the bar, all electricians need to be certified, etc. There is a base level of knowledge they must all have and show they have via exam, in order to do their jobs…

      1. And all those professions were perfectly sucessful before “common core” was a mandatory thing =D i have an ECE degree and even in college i was not taught the “common core” way we used “old fashion” learning.. lol and I got my degree not to long ago

    1. You’re welcome! It’s hard to sift through all the muck, so if I can help others out by doing some of the leg work, I am more than happy to do it😊

  9. I know sooooo many teachers who absolutely hate common core! My mom and sister both teach high school in Florida, and while they don’t technically have common core, their standards are almost the same.

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