Skip to comments.A Teacher's Take on Common Core (Vanity)
Posted on 03/31/2014 8:27:20 AM PDT by A_perfect_lady
I have been a Freeper for 12 years and a teacher for 10. I work in Los Angeles, in a public school, and I teach English. I want to say something about Common Core, although my observations will be strictly limited to my particular domain: English. I cannot comment on the Math portion.
I will begin bluntly: I do not understand the conservative outcry about Common Core. Perhaps its only because I teach in California, but to me it is an improvement, at least in some ways. If you arent a teacher (and most conservatives arent, which is a pity) you dont realize what California standards were like. Oh, the goals themselves werent particularly remarkable in the end, the goals are always the same for English, no matter how they word them: children should be able to summarize, identify, describe, explain, compare, analyze, evaluate, and synthesize the plot, characters, setting, theme, mood, tone same stuff theyve done for years.
What was noxious about California standards was their pressure to conform to a liberal reading list. The text books they issued looked as if someone had gone down a checklist with authors arranged by skin color and nationality. I could almost hear the editor muttering to himself, We need an Indonesian. Very few authors were classic writers noted for their skill. They seemed to think one short story by Hemingway, one by Poe, and one by Bradbury was sufficient to represent the Dead White Males of the Pre-enlightenment Era (thats sarcasm, for those of you in Rio Linda). The ESL textbooks were even more pointed: children were directed to read essays on how FDR saved America, how nuclear power is bad, bad, bad, how the 2nd amendment is contingent upon government permission(!), how migrant workers are victimized by pesticides yes, it was cheery stuff.
Now comes Common Core, and one of the first things they addressed in the training was this: children raised on the simplistic language of modern-day PC authors cannot comprehend anything else, and did horribly on the periodic assessments. The periodic assessments, created by people who apparently hadnt gotten the memo, had included excerpts from The Odyssey, Anne of Green Gables, Call of the Wild, David Copperfield could a child raised on the toothless prose of Gary Soto and bell hooks even comprehend the long, intricate sentences that were common to writers many years ago? No, they couldnt. Imagine that.
So this is what the Common Core material suggests: classic writers. Documents written by the Founding Fathers. Greek mythology. Mark Twain. Louisa May Alcott. Yes, really. Common Core steps away from guiding the teachers curriculum along the PC lines of authors of color and writers who champion social justice and actually recommends classics, but makes no effort to control what the teacher chooses. This, my Friends, can only be an improvement, because liberals were in charge of our books for too many years. Any choices by teachers will swing to the right because frankly, they were so far to the left that there was no way to go further unless you have 7th graders reading Andrea Dworkin, and teachers with that attitude would have already been doing it.
I dont expect a wave of support
my sad experience is that many Freepers hate teachers with such a livid passion that I wonder about them. But I wanted to say this: Common Core is much less prohibitive in English than the previous standards. Again, I cannot speak to the mathematics, the science, the history
but I can tell you that in English, its an improvement, for the reasons I have given above. Okay, flame away.
Does “English” still include reading and writing skills? Just wondering.
There should be zero involvement of the federal government in schools, ideally there should be no government schools at all.
This idea that DC knows how to make anything better, anything at all, is farcical. The left has an agenda and it is destroying this country rapidly, we should never trust them.
Still don’t understand?
Does your school have it’s own abortion clinic yet?
My wife is a teaching assistant at an Elementary school here in central Florida (she teaches ESE kids). She says she hasn't seen any identifiable CC stuff, and not much has changed there, if at all.
I wonder where all the scary info about the indoctrination stuff comes from, more liberal pablum crap. You are saying some of it is going away, what with the broadening of the reading material.
It matters not what the current reading list is, the problem is that the power to set the reading list should not reside with the Federal Government.
The book "The Black Swan" by Taleb should be on your reading list. Top down control of anything is a very risky proposition. Bottom up control gives more resilience to error, and allows for innovation to be done safely, that is to be tried on small scales and tested over time.
What people worry about is the politicization of the content as stated. Kids being taught to read short bytes of information instead of whole books. What you are talking about is not the part that people are objecting to. We are objecting to the computerized teaching by testing.
Some school district are trying to put every kid on the computer, all at the same time, being fed curriculum over the internet, government curriculum that is more like the old SRA programmed reading program than a real literature program. The teachers will remain in the classroom to facilitate the internet learning and supplement it. I know this because they were trying to do it in my school district. They wanted 20 million dollar bond to pay for it. I had a friend on the committee that was doing the planning, a very liberal friend.
I don’t think that you are being fair, Geron. Common Core government standards may indeed be an improvement over the Cal government standards that she was dealing with.
BUT, I still don’t trust Common Core at all. Including the classics and founding documents in the reading assignments may well be a strategy to initially disarm the mistrustful constituents. THEN, after it becomes accepted the boom will be lowered, and worthy reading material may disappear. Bob
I forgot to mention that they want to teach science like an open book test. They want to teach students where they can find answers to science questions on the internet instead of mastering the subject. History will probably be the same.
Yeah? Let me know when the system adopts phonics again to teach speaking English; which is of course — a PHONETIC language.
While I would applaud any improvement in our schools, I am suspicious of any program that doesn’t teach the way kids were taught back when the USA was number one in the world in reading comprehension and writing, not to mention math and science. Today, we rank below freakin’ Zimbabwe in all international standards.
There was nothing wrong with teaching rote memorization for math, phonics and writing comprehension for English and all the other “old fashioned” techniques. They actually WORKED! But somewhere along the line, the unions and their puppets (teachers) decided that we should bring the smart kids down to the level of under-performing students and that parents should have little say in their children’s education.
Now, it’s been downhill all the way. I interviewed a new college graduate last week for a job. The application was filled with spelling errors and the kid couldn’t speak good English.
The basic problem is this. The Federal Government should have ZERO say in what is taught in our schools. While they could make suggestions and offer support, they should NEVER be the final say.
Thank you for an illuminating post; and, as befits a teacher of English, you have expressed yourself in a clear and persuasive manner!
Teach your pupils the way you were taught. This great nation got to this point without the magic of “Common-Core”. The leftist dominated educational establishment has run out of excuses. States have colleges for training teachers and the tradition of collaboration with localities. No more short-cuts or excuses. TEACH!
II find CC to be every bit as objectionable as earlier standards, but it has nothing to do with the curriculum. There is absolutely NO Constitutional authority for fedgov to be anywhere near the education of our children. In fact, the same should apply at the State level, IMO.
The enumerated powers of the US Constitution make NO reference to the education of our children, and so said education is reserved to the States, or to the People.
In short, get your hands off our kids! Your 12+ years of indoctrination are destroying the greatest nation ever to appear on the earth, and we are sick of it.
Einstein's definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result.
It's time to fire all the people who have run the show for the past 40+ years and try competition. Give the students a voucher, and let them decide where they want to go to school.
The purpose of Common Core is the same as every other "standard" in the past 40 years; equal outcome - how do we make the non-minority kids as dumb as the minority kids? All in the name of "fairness."
Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon
I dont expect a wave of support my sad experience is that many Freepers hate teachers with such a livid passion that I wonder about them.
Love teachers. Have/had 3 relatives that were teachers. Have 4 current friends that are teachers. But not all teachers are equal. Not all school districts are equal and the larger the union involvement usually the worse things are.....
“It’s not about teachers, it’s about principles. Control of education is not one of the powers granted to the Federal Government.”
I do not have a problem with teachers at all. I have known many in my life (not including teachers I have had in school, I’m talking neighbors, friends, co-workers). All are fine people. The problem is many of the school administrations and, to be honest, not enough parents paying attention to what those admnistrations do as policy.
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