Many wonder where the Common Core even came from. It wasn’t like the president made this big announcement to let the country know of this important change. Nothing was said about it, except the teachers telling the kids that their taking a test in May. It all started when, at the time, the Arizona governess Janet Napolitano was doing the job of any governor and wrote the initiative of the year for Arizona. In that initiative,
there was a strong focus on improving the maths and sciences, as well as reading comprehension. Dane Linn, the VP at Business Roundtable who oversees education and workforce for schools in California says “The more she thought about it, she came to the conclusion that America couldn’t lead the world in innovation and remain being
competitive if we didn’t have an internationally competitive education system.” Linn was also a director of the same governor’s education association as Napolitano. Napolitano decided to take some action on her initiative by creating a task force. She recruited commissioners or education, governors, corporate cheer executive officers, recognized experts in higher education. Together they wrote a report about education and submitted it. According to Linn, that report was the building blocks for the Common Core Standards.
In the beginning of the Common Core, many people didn’t have complaints about their child taking a test. The Common Core was fair and had comprehendible questions for all grades. For instance in math, the majority’s for the questions were one-step problems that made sure that the mathematicians knew and understood what they were doing. Currently, Congress and the Common Core Standards have decided to make the children learn the same exact information as the previous year; except the test will now be mostly two-step problems and difficult to read. The questions now for math are multi step ones that take more time in completing and reading through them. The vocabulary is complex and troublesome. Especially for little third graders, it can be frustrating after a while when you simply cannot understand what the question is asking you. The worst part is that these tests were established not for the better sake of the student, but for the better state of the country. Common Core was made so that the government can see how the nations future leaders are doing and they don’t care about the amount of pressure that they put on the students as long as the country as a whole gets a good
Students are being bent-over backwards to prepare for these two tests. The two tests are English Language Arts (reading and writing) and Mathematics. The students spend weeks before the tests trying to prepare. It takes time out of their writing and math classes because instead of learning and doing the lessons that they actually want to do; the students have to learn how to take the tests because of the difficult format. The schools receive a booklet for each student that are filled with hardcore lessons and practice for the students. The tests are even timed! The amount of stress that the students endure is now through the roof. A concerned parent of the North Shore Schools District, Laura Hoffman, explained her concerns in a recent interview. When asked what she thought about the tests being timed she shared, “I do have many friends whose children have learning disabilities and really struggle. This kind of testing puts a bigger strain than needed. Even for the kids who don’t have learning disabilities and will know that they will pass still have a huge strain of stress because of this.” When
asked what parents/teachers can do she shared, “The only way they could make a change is allocate funds by number of students, district participation in after school activities or overall grade averages instead of grading on these specific testing.” She is only the voice of one parent; just imagine how all the others feel.
More than half of the country’s students will be disappointed when they get their scores back. According to Diane Ravitch, 60-70% of students fail these tests. They don’t even get a D or D+, they flat out fail. So now after spending weeks of their time nervously studying, preparing, and more to find out that they failed disastrously. Diane Ravitch is a historian of education and runs an extremely credible and famous blog about the Common Core. In one of her posts she wrote, “In order to stop the Common Core we must raise attention to all of Americas communities and convince politicians that it is better for society.” It’s not just Ravitch who believes that the people can stop it, many parents, bloggers and politicians believe it too.
It’s about time that this issue is addressed. Although many politicians and educators have tried to resolve this issue; there is a way that small communities can help. There’s no excuse why parents can’t rally up and fight against their state, country, or just even their school. All anyone hears about in the news is about how parents or
teachers are striking or stopping something that would hurt the students. One thing that I could do to help this issue is writing a letter to the superintendent of North Shore School Districts. I could even meet with him and talk about submitting a report to NYS’s education advisers. If I draw up a persuasive enough case, it can be submitted to congress. Along the way, I will round up other students, parents and possibly other school districts to help stop this disastrous curriculum. Another way that I could help is talking to the parents of my fellow students. Explain to them how the student body feels and the percentages and statistics that they didn’t know existed. The parents also have the power to opt their children out the test; basically boycotting the Common Core. This great loss of test takers will force either Congress or NYS state to do something about it. If Janet Napolitano can find several people that care about the cause and simply write a report on it, then why can’t local schools, teachers, students write a report and submit it to the state?