Posted in: Opinion

An Assessment of Common Core Facts

Posted on November 5, 2013

An Assessment of Common Core Facts

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have been a hot topic in my home for nearly a year. As a concerned parent, I have firsthand knowledge what these standards are doing to my children.

Ever since last year, my now third-grade daughter has repeatedly expressed frustration in math. I’ve witnessed her love of math slowly fade only to be replaced with tears and disappointment. As her parent, I tried to help ease her anxieties but quickly realized I couldn’t; it was being taught in a way I didn’t understand therefore, I couldn’t help her.

Supporters say it’s because the standards are more rigorous; let me say this, my daughter knows rigor. She’s a gifted student reading on a 5th-9th grade level and does computer math on a 4th-5th grade level, yet she is struggling with grade level math. Where’s the rigor in that?

My kindergartner came home with classwork having her fill in a graph and answer less/more questions based on that graph. According to Ze’ev Wurman, a mathematics expert, this standard (MACC.K.MD.1.2) is age-inappropriate and unnecessarily demanding; it’s a 2nd grade standard in Singapore.

We’re basing our new standards on high-achieving country’s standards but these standards are untested, choppy, and in some areas age-inappropriate.

Let me say I’m not an expert nor am I a teacher. Supporters say my daughter’s frustration comes down to the implementation of the standards, not the standards themselves; this leaves me feeling offended.

To blame the teachers is an injustice to their love of their profession. Teachers are doing their best to implement standards that many don’t support. I was told that morale is low among teachers and this is disheartening.

I have other concerns outside of the standards themselves like the career tracking/data mining of our children, as well as rewriting the privacy laws (Family Educational Rights Privacy Act) to allow any 3rd party access to our children’s personal information without parental consent.

Any stakeholder- policy maker; legislator; researcher; business (think Labor Department)- can view their personal information and determine if a child’s future will be attending college or technical school.

Secretary Arne Duncan said the data will be collected “so that every child knows on every step of their educational trajectory what they’re going to do.”

The National Education Data Model allows collection of over 400 data points on our children including, but not limited to, bus stop time/location, medical care/conditions, in-school/post-school employment status, parents’ religious/political preference etc.

The US Department’s “Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance” report outlines on pages 42-45 what its intentions are regarding our children’s tracking of biometric data.

Page 44 of the report significantly covers the exploration of complex affect computing data measured through multiple means. Iris and palm scanning were already piloted right here in our own state without parental knowledge.

Those who oppose CCSS don’t believe their objections to the new standards are philosophical. The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allotted $4.35B for education reform. For states to receive monies from the U.S. Department of Education Race To The Top (RTTT) competitive grant program, states were required to adopt common standards and assessments (sight unseen); fully implement a statewide longitudinal data system; recruit, develop, reward, and retrain effective teachers and principals; and turn around lowest-achieving schools.

The concern regarding the longitudinal data system is part of Common Core through RTTT requirements of adopting common standards. Those “common standards” are Common Core State Standards. You can’t have one without the other.

Supporters claim it was state-led. However, CCSS were solely written and copyrighted by non-academic groups-Alliance Inc, National Governors Association, and the Council of Chief State School Officers. State education agencies or curriculum research universities weren’t asked for their input in the development of CCSS. States didn’t come together to share and write great educational ideas. If they had, they would’ve adopted high standards like those of Massachusetts.

Neither standards nor assessments have ever been piloted. How long will the Florida and U.S. departments of education allow drops in assessment scores before they say “This isn’t working”? Common Core is an untested, unfunded experiment on our children.

There’s no cost analysis! No one knows how much this overhaul of education will cost the taxpayers. While publishing and software companies stand to gain billions in developing aligned products, it’s ultimately the taxpayers paying for textbooks, tests, professional training, and more.

As a co-founder of Florida Parents Against Common Core, we’re asking legislators for a moratorium to fully understand what lies ahead for our state and our children’s educational future. For more information visit www.flparentsagainstcommoncore.com

Meredith Mears
850-321-7258

One Response to An Assessment of Common Core Facts

  1. Elizabeth Overholt Reply

    November 5, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Fantastic article Meredith! You covered many points that I’m very concerned about too, such as the cost and data mining. Identity theft in children is growing & can go on for years without the parents knowledge. When was the last time you pulled your child’s credit report? Our school district cannot afford Common Core. Superintendent Pons estimates that we need 6 to 10 million dollars for a technology upgrade to give the Common Core computer tests on-line. Where is that money going to come from? Property owners are the tax payers of our school system. We just bought new text books to align with the end of course exams in Algebra One & Geometry. We really cannot afford new textbooks from kindergarten to 12 grade. That would take over the whole budget for our schools. Common Core is not proven by any international or national benchmarks. There are just too many string attached. It is time to put the breaks on Common Core.

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