OMO Common Core

 

Today’s piece is brought to you by Amy, a mother of two children in Slidell who has chosen to homeschool her boys because of concerns she’s having with the new Common Core Curriculum. Read all about her thoughts below and let use know what you think!

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“What is this math homework?”
“What do you mean you don’t carry the five?”
“Why are third graders spending an entire year learning a practice test, when the real test is in 4th grade?”
“Why are so many teachers leaving?”
“WHAT Is going on in my child’s school?”

These are just some of the questions that came up as I slowly learned of HUGE changes in our public education system. I had noticed for quite some time now the slow changes. I graduated with a degree in Early Childhood Education in 2001, and went right into teaching at a highly respected, nationally recognized Head Start program. I enjoyed it, and continued on until my own child was born. I stayed involved in the Special Education because my second child was diagnosed with Autism at 19 months. (He’s now five and pretty unrecognizable as having Autism. I fully credit a wonderful Special Ed Preschool Program and God to that!)

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So I noticed changes, even in the preschool setting when I went to work as a temp from 2009-2013. What in the world was going on in my beloved Head Start?  Plastered everywhere was “KINDERGARTEN READINESS!!!”” We HAVE to get them ready for Kindergarten!! I was a little offended. I thought, “Seriously? What did they think I was DOING the years I taught? Gee, what have these teachers who have been teaching forty years been doing…getting them ready for what, prison?!” Head Start had worked effectively for years.

I’m not bashing public school teachers here. Teachers are just as innocent in this new garbage as the students are. Many of them are BAFFLED at the changes that have come down. What’s going on isn’t new.. Outcomes Based Education has been a problem for YEARS. What’s new is it’s name?

Common Core State Standards.

Shudder.

I saw these changes in Head Start, especially this past school year as my youngest spent a year there. It was different from when my oldest son spent two years there, he is now 7. I watched, waited, and learned. Throughout the school year, I realized, something is going on.

Then the second graders homework began to change. Math especially seemed to be less about 2+2=4 and more about how does Tim FEEL about having to share 5 melons? My son had to answer a simple math problem five different ways.  After showing his work four different ways on a simple math problem, the 5th question simple said, “Explain.”. His answer? “I know because I listened.” SERIOUSLY. The 7 year old could even see the stupidity of the repetitive questions. He already answered it four ways, did he REALLY need to explain it again?

Suffice it to say, I’m tired, but after much research  I decided CCSS is NOT for our family. I decided we would homeschool. Common Core was the last straw.  I figured, I have this education degree, and I can’t screw it up any worse than they are right??

But I admit, I’m mad. I didn’t WANT to homeschool. My husband works 50 hours a week and I run my own business so we pay taxes for things like public education. And here we are, unable to use them. Yes, it’s by our choice, but they have so defiled what public (and now private) education should be, it’s disgusting. So, here we are, we’re enjoying it and I plan to rock it like I rock everything else. Why? Because I have to.

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So what exactly do I hate about CCSS? I’ll make a simple list.

Here are my personal beefs about it:

  • It’s against the law. The federal government is not supposed to create a national curriculum. They know this. They claim CCSS is a state led initiative that states can decide to follow or not. Well, here’s the rub: The “state led initiative” is actually a small group of people and the National Governor’s Association. And the voluntary part? False again. In order for states to receive “Race to the Top” funds from the Stimulus package, they MUST agree to accept Common Core. There are those who say “standards are not curriculum.” To those people I reply, “I am guessing you have never ever set foot in a classroom to teach because standards ALWAYS beget curriculum.” Our governor, who supposedly didn’t take stimulus money, did take RTTT money and that is how LA got Common Core.
  • It infringes on the privacy of students, parents, staff, and more. Louisiana is especially involved in this with our ahem, glorious State Superintendent John White (mama said if you don’t have anything nice to say……) Mr. White has thrown Louisiana under the bus. Google “InBloom.” Have fun with that. InBloom is the data management company that is going to manage the 58 pages of data on every student in Louisiana. I heard this from BESE board members mouths. InBloom can neither promise or verify that all that data will not be sold, hacked, lost, or misused. Seems like one big giant risk to me! Here is some information on Data Mining.
  • Control. When you have a national curriculum, which is what this WILL be in the end, do you think you will have ANY say in how your schools are run? Absolutely NOT. Gone will be the days in which you can hustle on down to your Parish BESE board meeting and have a say about curriculum, textbooks, etc as was done years ago when St. Tammany parish parents and teachers successfully removed a horrible math curriculum. (Which they did, with the help of a well established Mathmetician, Dr James Milgrim, who now says he cannot support the Common Core Math Standards.) You, as a parent and taxpayer will have NO power. NONE. Your school took Race to The Top money? Then they have to do what the standards say.
  • True teachers will be pushed out. After all, if ALL the schools are teaching the SAME thing…why would anyone need the actual gift and talent of TEACHING??

  • Some standards are dumbed down, some are pushed too far.  The basics of math have been changed so they teach them convoluted ways of doing math. Informational texts supersede classic literature.
  • The actual standards (and by default curriculum) are NOT FIELD TESTED. This boggles my mind. In a world of drug testing, food testing, warning labels, and enough lawsuits to cover the stupids of the world, we are willy nilly implementing educational standards that are NOT TESTED? That have NOT been proven effective teaching materials or methods? That have NOT been really adapted to childrens individual developmental needs? This is LUNACY! The site for the standards claim they are evidence based, but that is NOT the same as field tested and they know it.
  • It just doesn’t make sense. It boils down to this…it just doesn’t feel RIGHT. I feel like we’re being sold a rotten bill of goods. We are being sold on something that no one really knows how to pay for, how to implement, and how it will truly affect our children’s education.

And sadly, I hear from many who don’t know, or care. Private school parents…you better talk to your directors because the New Orleans Archdiocese has accepted CCSS. So have many others.

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Homeschoolers? Don’t stick your head in the sand. ACT, GED, SAT’s and other national tests that our kids use for college entrance and to ‘prove’ themselves will ALL become aligned to the Common Core.

Are you childless or your kids are grown? Don’t bother looking away because it is YOUR tax dollars being used to fund this, both federal and state.

There is SO much wrong in the world today, and maybe I’m a conspiracy nut, (but my tin foil hat is at least a stylish chevron print.)  but I honestly worry about our children, and as long as this great state allows me to, I will educate them in the ways I see fit.

Amy Dutsch
Mother of two, former teacher, small business owner and founder of
Parents and Educators Against Common Core Standards in Louisiana.

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