Teachers Speak Out Against Common Core With Heartbreaking Stories - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 03-24-2014, 05:53 PM - Thread Starter
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A group of elementary teachers have come together to speak out about Common Core.

 

In an open letter to Bill and Melinda Gates -- whose foundation has reportedly contributed 2.3 billion to Common Core's development and implementation -- a Kindergarten teacher calls for action: 

 

Quote:

Because of you — despite being in tears, these innocent 5 and 6 year old children — children who used to be finger painting, learning nursery rhymes, engaging in dramatic play with miniature kitchens, role playing with costumes and puppets, and building forts with large wooden blocks — endured FIVE hours of standardized testing.  FIVE hours of standardized testing of 5 and 6 year olds?  Do you really think American parents and teachers are going to allow this testing abuse?

 

As a kindergarten teacher and special education teacher with 20 years experience in early childhood education, I am outraged!

 

Every early childhood expert I know will be as well, but I want more than that! I want parents to be outraged! I want teachers and administrators to be outraged! I want them all to call Congress and demand #TESTHearingsNow!

 

Readers, it is time to take action!  Join us in calling your Congressmen on Monday, March 24th and demand formal Congressional hearings on standardized testing!  Use this Common Cause link to find your congressmen/women.  And use the Network for Public Education Toolkit to assist you with this campaign.

 

Read the rest of the letter and others on the website Teachers' Letters to Bill Gates

 

What have been your experiences with Common Core?

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#2 of 23 Old 03-24-2014, 06:56 PM
 
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I am a mom of six chikdren and 11 Grandchikdren and 3 Great Grandchildren!! I am very disappointed in the Common Core!! While I an all in favor of improving the academic standards of our children I do not believe the Common Core standards are the answer!! This is not to say all aspects of the Common Core are wrong but much needs to be done to increase focus on education but still allow time for crestive time and play which is so important to the development of our children!! i am hoping more focus is made on a more evenly disttibutd approach which educates but also stimulates creative and stimulus in our children!!
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#3 of 23 Old 03-24-2014, 07:11 PM
 
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A friend of mine who teaches at a Waldorf inspired charter school just quit her job partly because teaching to these outrageous standards is too much stress & work and goes completely against the Waldorf way of teaching. Personally, I'll be homeschooling my children when I have them. There's no way I would subject my children to these ridiculous standards & hours of testing that's all created by corporations, not educators that know what children need. 

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#4 of 23 Old 03-24-2014, 07:19 PM
 
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Where do they get that the testing takes 5 hours??        headscratch.gif 

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#5 of 23 Old 03-24-2014, 07:33 PM
 
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I have a kindergartener in a state that uses common core standards. No standardized testing until 2nd grade and then very little. Standards are just expectations. The district/school/teacher determine how to meet the standards and evaluate learning.

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#6 of 23 Old 03-24-2014, 07:57 PM
 
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People act like Common Core is a straight jacket imposed from on high, which is not at all what CC is. All of the CC standards are voluntary.

 

I have absolutely NO tears for someone who thinks a young child cannot spend 5 hours in a test. It's not all done at one time, and they spend at least that long every day in a classroom. If this is the worst criticism you can come up with, then please sit down. You are hysterical.

 

It's been my experience that generally there are two main groups working against Common Core: textbook manufacturers, who stand to lose revenue if Common Core is widely adopted, and those who think that the purpose of public education is first and foremost religious indoctrination -- because they see it as a threat to the idea of setting local standards which they can interject their religious teachings into.

 

The religious folks really need to chill out, because there is nothing in CC that forces a school to adopt everything. If a local school board wants to have their biology standards reflect Intelligent Design or be critical of evolution, they still can do this, even while adopting CC math standards. As for the textbook companies... well, sorry guys. Your gravy train days of being able to sell 15 different versions of a math textbook at a premium price are (hopefully) numbered.

 

Educationally speaking, the US is a second-world country. We're 30th in math, 22nd in science, 20th in reading. Behind Russia. Behind Vietnam. Something must be done. I do not claim that Common Core is the perfect answer, but obviously we need a new plan -- because the one we're using ain't workin'.

 

Common Core is a good start, and nobody is claiming it's the end of the process.

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#7 of 23 Old 03-24-2014, 08:39 PM
 
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Standards and their development should be based on sound child development, which is simply not true and lies at the heart of all criticism I have read.  I am a teacher and with a master's in developmental theory.  It is time to stand up and oppose the Common Core and insist on developmentally based curriculum in our schools.  This is the only way we will increase our academic ability as a nation as well as develop a healthy society.  

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#8 of 23 Old 03-24-2014, 08:48 PM
 
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My issue with common core is not the amount of hours in testing as this has been the standard since my child started school 6 years ago. Nor that in kindergarten children are expected to learn more than finger painting and social expectations. My concern is that my child has to learn math in a way that even myself at 39 with a bachelors and my early childhood development certification have difficulty making sense out of. Last week my daughter brought home a paper with every answer correct and her work written out with a grade of zero because she did not use the common core method! Here is where I find problems with ANY standard in school that does not allow and encourage a child
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#9 of 23 Old 03-24-2014, 08:52 PM
 
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To learn in their way! My daughters school just this year adopted the common core methods! So in fifth grade she is expected to not only learn new methodsand formulas but also be told she is wrong when her original way and formulas are no longer the "correct" way!
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#10 of 23 Old 03-24-2014, 09:18 PM
 
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I am a mother of five, ranging in age from 30 to 8 years old.  4 of the 5 have been educated in 2 other countries as well as the USA.  Common Core MATH - stinks!  Common Core Language Arts, I think is great, since the children have to answer the questions they are being asked, in their own words and not just color little circles in.  So keep Language Arts but MATH - that is a whole different story.  Why would you take simple MATH that has been taught correctly for 100 years and make in complicated.  STUPID if you ask me!  Something needs to change!

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#11 of 23 Old 03-24-2014, 09:51 PM
 
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Okay, this was the deal under No Child Left Behind. No dramatic play, painting, science, etc in my child's kinder class 3 years ago. So, why is everyone all upset about this *just now*? We began homeschooling our kid halfway through kindergarten because the "academic rigor" was not rigor at all. It was flash cards, lectures using an overhead projector, and memorization. Teachers should uphold academic integrity and implement curriculum they know to be developmentally appropriate....kindergarteners should be playing, getting dirty, talking to each other, reading lots of great books, and figuring things out. Actually, all students should be doing this. No where in CC does it say children cant be doing these things. On the contrary, students will understand why "why" and "how" by getting messy and doing real work.

Stop complaining.... grow a garden (in upcycled containers if you have to), read books outside and look for bug in the grass, measure leaves, hang bird feeders to observe local species, let children create their own art and please, please stop having them all make the same construction paper cut-and-glue project. Dont have art supplies? Make your own, there are tons of ideas on Pinterest. Let them create something, on their own. Dont assign busy work filled with errors, lest it end up on a Whats Wrong With Common Core blog. Instead, Check out the blog investigatingchoicetime. Make your students' work meaningful. Make the standards work for you and your kids. We follow Common Core standards while also mostly following "child led learning" in our homeschool. The sky is not falling. Is everyone really that upset about No Child Left Behind going by the wayside?

If math was taught in such an efficient way before, why are so many people not that great in math? Why do so many college students need remediation before they can take courses leading to their degree? Just something to think about.
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#12 of 23 Old 03-25-2014, 03:47 AM
 
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Do you have a child that you have watched struggle with the ridiculous procedures that are some of these lessons?? Because you left out one VERY important and VERY large group of people working against common core - PARENTS. 

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#13 of 23 Old 03-25-2014, 09:53 AM
 
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I'm assuming you are responding to my post? I understand what you are talking about, seeing a child struggle under developmentally inappropriate material. What I meant in my post (which my senile mommy brain forgot to get to), is that we need to be purposeful with our language to hope for the best change we want to see. Are you working against a set of standards? Or are you working against the textbooks and curriculum your child's school is adopting? Teachers can meet the standards in ways that also meet the interests of their students...hence my suggestion of the blog that follows the Reggio Emilia approach in elementary classroom. If you want to see change in your child's classroom and school, start there. I know this isn't easy, since I tried my very best with my local public school before homeschooling my child (during NCLB). I gave the teacher and principal academic articles on the importance of play, etc, but all of my concerns were met with apathy. But I don't blame NCLB, I blame the acamedic leadership at that school. They could have allowed parents and students to start a garden. They could have allowed parents to fundraise for a music program. But they wouldn't allow any instructional time for anything outside of math, reading and writing. Other schools in the same district, however, did have these extracurricular programs during instructional time. Anyway, what I meant is Common Core standards aren't the same thing as materials sold by publishers, or curriculum in a classroom or school (curriculum is everything that a student does to learn; books, activities, projects, etc).

Mothering magazine has a history of discourse about purposeful language in breastfeeding and birth....I think the same should go for other important topics as well.
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#14 of 23 Old 03-26-2014, 07:54 AM
 
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So much of what I see reported regarding the Common Core Standards is based on ignorance and misinformation. How many of those complaining about the Common Core have actually read them? The standards are not a teaching "method." The standards are skills children are expected to learn and practices of behavior in the classroom such as persistence, cooperation, and analytical thinking we should desire for ALL children. Are the standards rigorous? Yes. Are the standards "developmentally appropriate?" Yes. Were the standards developed by educators? Yes! The Common Core Standards are TOOLS for educators to develop college and/or career ready young people. Tools can be used in a number of ways. But if misused by some misguided, limited individual, or used as a political football, don't blame the tool. Don't take a single extreme case as reflective of the "evil" Common Core Standards. C'mon people. THINK!
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Even if the problem isn't with the CC in itself, if it's being implemented badly- that needs to be fixed. If it's being implemented badly more than well, then that's a big problem.

 

Not everyone can just homeschool. If they could, we wouldn't need public school!

 

A lot of people have complaints about No Child Left Behind, and did when it came out. I don't understand the "Why are you complaining about this NOW" thing, when many people have been objecting to it.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by lauren View Post
 

Where do they get that the testing takes 5 hours??        headscratch.gif 

It took five ours due to user error. Did you not read it? Computer crashes, kids accidentally shutting down the computer or closing the program, kids not understanding how to do it, headsets getting tangled, sound being muted, young children having a hard time with track pads, etc. If this test had been done on paper (I realize that they couldn't make it adaptive on paper)- it probably would have taken 1/5 or maybe even 1/10 of the time. It's also possible that utilizing touch screens (some schools have all kids having iPads nowadays) would have helped. It also should have been programmed in that kids couldn't shut down the computer while doing it without inputting a password, when I was small I had a program for kids that prevented kids from accessing the rest of the computer.

 

The test itself wasn't the problem, it was how it was given. A few simple solutions could have helped:

-Better preparation

-A brief explanation beforehand (it doesnt' sound like they did. If they'd done a presentation showing what they'll see on the screen and how to do it, it may have worked better, or not)

-Mouses or touch screens instead of track pads

-Changes to the programming software to prevent the kids closing the program or quitting the computer

 

The test could be the best test in the world, if it's given badly- then it's going to cause problems.


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#16 of 23 Old 03-26-2014, 06:30 PM
 
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Why can't everyone just homeschool? It isn't hard. We don't "need" public schools. I was a single parent and I homeschooled my 3 children. We could use all that money we are using on public education in more effective ways.

 

We could spend some of that money we waste on public education for young children on secondary education. 


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#17 of 23 Old 03-26-2014, 08:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foreverinbluejeans View Post
 

Why can't everyone just homeschool? It isn't hard. We don't "need" public schools. I was a single parent and I homeschooled my 3 children. We could use all that money we are using on public education in more effective ways.

 

We could spend some of that money we waste on public education for young children on secondary education. 

 

Good idea.  After all, everyone reads and writes well, has a good understanding of math, is fluent in English, and has enough free time outside of work.  No one ever lets mental illness, drug addiction, or personal problems get in the way of providing good parenting and thoughtful consideration of their child's educational needs.  We all have it in us to be awesome teachers!

 

I'm not all that impressed with the job schools are doing, but I don't think the Common Core is going to have much effect one way or the other.  It's not some radically new way of teaching kids or a radical change in what we expect them to learn.  The standards may be different from the standards some states previously used, but they're not a huge departure from what has been the norm in most of the U.S.  The letter from the teacher isn't even about the standards.  It's about one of the tests being developed to measure how well kids are meeting the standards.  If the test sucks for technological reasons, that doesn't mean the Common Core standards are terrible.  And it's unlikely the test is going to continue to suck this much every year.  They'll work out the glitches and make improvements, or go back to something more like the old standardized tests.  I like to complain about things schools are doing wrong as much as the next person, but I just can't get too worked up over the Common Core.

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#18 of 23 Old 03-27-2014, 08:16 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foreverinbluejeans View Post
 

Why can't everyone just homeschool? It isn't hard. We don't "need" public schools. I was a single parent and I homeschooled my 3 children. We could use all that money we are using on public education in more effective ways.

 

We could spend some of that money we waste on public education for young children on secondary education. 

This thread is not about this debate but I couldn't leave off without commenting, and since we aren't in the learning at school forum, I don't feel out of place:

 

Personally, I am glad that homeschooling remains a choice, because if it weren't, we would have standards like Common Core aimed at US.  No, no.  Let homeschool grow organically to a sustainable level of genuine popularity.  Let its greatest strength be the freedom of the family to teach in the way that works best for their children.  John Holt's criticism of schools hinged first and foremost on the compulsory nature of them.  When homeschooling becomes mandatory, and publicly funded, it will come with all kinds of strings attached, including standards like the subject of this thread.  No thank you.  I don't care that I can implement it in ways that aren't as awful as the experience some teachers and parents are having with the implementation of Common Core.  We are thriving on freedom we have.

 

Having just watched Prisoner of Azkaban, I am immediately reminded of the moment when Hermione howled to save Harry-past from Lupin's werewolf, only to bring the attack down upon her and Harry-present.  "Didn't think of that....."  :p

 

OK, I'm done. 

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#19 of 23 Old 03-27-2014, 03:32 PM
 
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I don't know much about the politics or reasons behind the decision to switch to Common Core, but I will share my personal experience as a homeschool mom.

My children (grades 3,6,9) have been homeschooled since K. They attend a homeschool based charter school that has an option to enroll in on site classes two days a week. My children are among the students that attend the 2x a week classes, and they are in their third year of doing so. The school switched over to CC math and CC LA last year. My children are taught CC at school and I teach CC at home. I am in regular contact with their teachers. The transition to CC LA has not been a problem in the least. In my experience, CC math has been a more difficult transition. I have observed that the switch seems to be harder on the teachers/parents than for the students. I was especially frustrated the first year we switched over. My kids' on site teachers were not loving it, either. Now that we are midway through the second year of CC math, I can honestly say that I like it and their teachers are finding a comfortable groove teaching it, too. It does require a different approach when teaching, but all three of my kids transitioned easily.

I do not feel that my kids are suffering or learning less because of CC. I do think that there is going to be a fair amount of frustrated instructors as they switch over. I know I was. I found my grove though, and now our daily learning moves along like it did before the switch.

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#20 of 23 Old 03-27-2014, 04:41 PM
 
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Charter schools are not homeschooling even if the school is in a setting that looks like a home. It is not uncommon for homeschooled children to not start "schooling" until they are 7 or older and only spend an hour or two a day on learning activities. They get accepted into college and become professionals. 

 

The vast majority of children can learn at home with very little effort put forth by adults. There are services available to identify and help children with special needs and provide them with help starting in infancy. If there were no public schools, these kinds services could help special needs children and their families. Parents that work and parents that want to send their children to school could send them to the school of their choice. They could hire in home care for their children and use online learning. 

 

I live in a state that has many free educational choices. There are neighborhood schools, magnet schools, charter schools, speciality schools, online learning, and other options. It seems like if we are going to have public funded education more choices would be the way to go rather than spending so much money on things like Common Core. 


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#21 of 23 Old 03-27-2014, 06:37 PM
 
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foreverinbluejeans - My children learned exclusively at home for years. Are you saying they were not homeschooled because I selected to use curriculum from a charter school? If so, that's a load of crap.

I believe what you are describing is called unschooling. Different animal altogether.

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#22 of 23 Old 04-01-2014, 01:27 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foreverinbluejeans View Post
 

Why can't everyone just homeschool? It isn't hard. We don't "need" public schools. I was a single parent and I homeschooled my 3 children. We could use all that money we are using on public education in more effective ways.

 

 

I am a firm believer that a parent is the child's first teacher, and that school is just a jumping off point for learning.  There may not be adequate time in the classroom to teach as thoroughly as a child may need, which I discovered when I had to teach my child math in different ways.  But I realize that I am in a privileged situation to have this time, and I see children who are in school and before and after care and don't have the same amount of time at home, and may have parents who don't know how to teach some of these things effectively.  Plus part of how people learn is through interacting with each other in group settings, and sharing ideas and information. I fully support homeschooling, but it's not that easy if your time is taken up in work outside the home.

I think common core as an idea of having a set of standards is good, but it sounds like the implementation can vary widely from school district to school district.

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#23 of 23 Old 04-02-2014, 05:58 PM
 
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I am in school  getting my restricted teaching license and the director said that many seasoned teachers close to retirement often retire early because learning the CC so close to retiring is not appealing. I have taken a curriculum course solely based on developing curriculum around lesson plans based on CC and it is very difficult and tedious work. It also restricts a teachers ability to use their own ideas because lessons must include the common core standards. Many assignments in my class included rewriting lesson plans that appeared to be good plans but did not follow the CC. It was by far the most difficult education class I have taken.

 

As a parent I am not too concerned as of yet, I do recall a few times ds cried because of his frustration with handwriting and spelling, he doesn't anymore and that was mostly in 1st grade. It was also his first year  going full day and his teacher would often take away recess because the students didn't finish their math lessons. Not sure if that was CC related but I was not happy about it.

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