In this article, Ethan Heitner (2013)
discussed some of the positive claims as well as the negative claims made for
the Common Core. He states that the
Common Core requires more student-centered teaching which involves both
collaborative and reflective learning.
The focus is developing critical learning skills instead of mastering
fragmented bits of learning. Many
teachers are looking for ways to best use Common Core in creating positive
learning in their classrooms. However,
Heitner believes that the Common Core cannot exceed the political user. The Common Core State Standards are not state
standards, but national standards created by Gates-funded consultants for the
National Governors Association to avoid the adoption of a national
curriculum. States were pressured into
adopting the Common Core by requirements attached to the federal Race to the
Top grants and, later, the No Child Left Behind waivers. The standards of the Common Core were written
mostly by academic and assessment experts.
Very few teachers or administrators as well as parents were included on
the review panels. It was after the fact
that K-12 educators were included. Another
issue with the Common Core is that the tests must be given on computers and
many schools do not have ample computers.
There is no justification for claims that every child will graduate from
high school being “college and career ready.”
The tests will more than likely be more difficult than those of the
present state tests. Scores as well as
proficiency rates will decline. No Child
Left Behind created failure that influenced the attempts to “fix” schools. Over half of the schools in the United States
were considered failing after a decade.
sponsors of Common Core concluded that although test scores showed that many of
the students were not meeting existing standards, the solution was to provide
more challenging tests. However, it is
believed by Heitner that the inaccuracy and unreliability of the Common Core
tests will distort assessments before they are in place. With the forced adoption of Common Core, a
possible assault on the teaching profession will occur. Declining scores will provide the excuse to close
more public schools and open more voucher and charter schools, especially in
poor communities of color. The Common
Core’s “college and career ready” performance level will push more kids out of
high school than it will prepare for college.
It is the opinion of Rethinking Schools that decisions concerning
teaching and learning have been moved away from classrooms, educators, and
school communities and put in the hands of distant bureaucracies. Political agendas and commercial interests
have undermined what school should teach and children should learn.
The article is similar to my current
teaching position in that the Advanced Placement United
States History (APUSH) curriculum was created by consultants rather than
educators that teach the course. Failure to work with classroom teachers has
led to multiple redesigns of the APUSH curriculum and examination over the past
three years. It also made the curriculum subject to criticism from outside
watchdog groups and government officials. It
is different from my current teaching position in that Social Studies has
yet to adhere to the Common Core standards. As of yet, we do not have a
specific assessment to check our standards. One question I still have is – If the Common Core is a requirement
and officials are concerned with the number of students failing assessments,
why has the government not spent necessary funds to support the implementation
of the standards?