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How is Common Core Better?

I’m sure there have been standardized tests since the dawn of, I don’t know, time maybe. I’ve read accounts of essays given to the students of Socrates. I’m sure there were tests given to young apprentices in their trade before they could venture out on their own. It wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution that these examinations were a great way to test large numbers of people in a short amount of time.

We’ve all grown up sitting at our desk for four hours with a kitchen timer set to 20 minute intervals coloring in our bubbles with No.2 pencils. Nothing else will do. And you better have three or four ready because there’s no getting up to sharpen them during the test.  And put your head down if you finish early because there’s no talking, no moving, no anything except that exam. I remember it quite well.

But in my day (yes, I said it…no, I’m not THAT old), I remember my standardized tests happened one or two days out of the year. And in my schools, they didn’t teach the test. Although, maybe I had it different from most folks. I attended DoD (Department of Defense) schools up until the end of 9th grade. But we still had the same standardized tests that those in the public realm did.

It wasn’t until I joined the public education system did I see exactly how sheltered I was. My fellow students were writing exactly like they spoke. And we were still learning what a noun and verb were in the 12th grade. Seriously, WTF?! But I digress…

Back to standardized tests. We had them in the DoD schools. And we had them in Public Schools. Then, there was the ASVAB, the military entrance exam. And of course the SAT. Even back then when I was taking these tests, I never understood how they (they being those grading and placing) could determine how smart I was based on my test scores. Because I suffered test anxiety, my tests usually were lower than my overall grades. I never agreed with their strict usage. Don’t judge me on my number. I’m more than that. My knowledge and understanding is greater than that. I am capable of learning greater things. You place a number, label me, and you limit me.

These tests have been far from my mind over the years. It wasn’t until I had my own child who entered the school system did I start to notice what was going on…still…to a greater extent than I’ve ever remembered. We were determined to take an active role in our son’s education. If we couldn’t afford a private school, then we were darned sure we were going to supplement. Over the last four years, I’ve noticed a trend in the worksheets he brings home. All of them are pulled from an FCAT workbook. Now, they have a second workbook geared towards the PARCC. Everything they do, they teach the test.

My son was reading and writing on his own by three. We began teaching his times tables in kindergarten and carried through to the first grade. We taught him fractions in 2nd. He is advanced is so many ways. But the school limits him, holds him back. I’m sick of it.

He was told not to use cursive because it’s not taught and not fair to the other children who can’t read it.
He was told not to use multiplication to find his answers because they haven’t learned it yet and it’s not fair to the other students.
He was told not to use the lowest common denominator because they haven’t learned it yet, nor did they ever that I’ve seen, and it’s not fair to the other students.
He was told he could not read or check out books from the library that were above his grade level, even though he’s reading (and comprehending) at 4 grades above his.
His Advanced teachers have been limited to what they can teach (no more teaching outside the book) because it’s more than what is required. 

Einstein said, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” How is this conducive to a proper education? How does this encourage children to learn? All I see it doing is stifling, brainwashing our children into being the mindless drones our government wants (NEEDS) so they can remain in power.

Yesterday, our son came home and told us that it took his teacher 45 minutes to go over two questions. They missed their entire recess period. And when we all went over the questions at home, the way we learned and the way we taught him, he had those two done in less than two minutes.

I posted this picture last school year on my Facebook page, before Common Core was introduced into our elementary state standards.
I was afraid then. I even saw the building blocks when his math problems were expressed in block columns (like the lower part of that screen with all the x’s). Just ridiculous.

I became hopeful when there were measures going to our State Legislature to, at a minimum, delay the implementation of the CC standard. But it has been in the works for the last five years. But it still was allowed through. Florida is part of 46 other states who’ve already adopted the deal, based off bribery (No Child Left Behind waiver and Stimulus money) mostly and without parents knowledge or even a chance to vote. Our taxes go to funding this initiative yet we have no say in the matter. They just took the money given by the federal government and ran with it. And now, all the money is gone, and they still don’t have the computers necessary to administer the tests, the tests and full curriculum aren’t even ready, and the teachers aren’t fully educated in the process. I’ve spoken with several local teachers and they are not happy with the Common Core either. There is a movement of teachers to get rid of it. But the problem is, control has been removed at the local level.

Hell, control has been removed at the state level (don’t let the proponents fool you!)

Let’s look at what’s going on currently in my son’s school.
Here’s my son’s homework he brought home yesterday, the one that took the teacher 45 minutes to explain the first two problems.

Click for larger view This is the worksheet my son brought home. The questions are simple and require little work. Common Core requires more steps to get the same answer. It's not simple. It's not easier.

Click for larger view
This is the worksheet my son brought home. The questions are simple and require little work. Common Core requires more steps to get the same answer. It’s not simple. It’s not easier.

Let’s take Question number 2.
Ryan has nine 14 ounce bags of popcorn to repackage and sell at the school fair. A small bag holds 3 ounces. How many small bags can he make?

All he has to do is multiply the number of bags  by the number of ounces to get the total number of ounces he has on hand, then divide by 3 in order to get the new number of bags he will have after the repackaging.

My son knows this. He told me how to solve it the way we taught him. (9 x 14) / 3  = 126/3 = 42

Simple math. 2 steps.

Click for larger view This is him showing his work for answering the worksheet questions. The questions are simple and require little work. Common Core requires more steps to get the same answer. It's not simple. It's not easier.

Click for larger view
This is him showing his work for answering the worksheet questions. The questions are simple and require little work. Common Core requires more steps to get the same answer. It’s not simple. It’s not easier.

Common Core dictates a NEW way of calculating the answer. I’m not even sure I understand how to explain it.

His “show your work” worksheet says :
9 x 14 = 126
126/3 = (30/3) + (30/3) + (30/3) +(30/3)  +2
10 + 10 + 10 + 10 +2

then we have the answer of 42

This is indeed more steps, but I don’t even understand how you get 30/3  so there’s probably another step in there to get that. Does it even make sense to you? Seriously? I can’t even.

Since they pushed CC through so quickly, they’ve failed in providing the necessary education for the teachers. It’s quite apparent to me that 45 minutes to explain two problems means that even the teacher doesn’t know how to explain it well enough for the children to understand. And if the teacher doesn’t understand, how in the world can she make her students understand?

Then, we have the interest groups who’ve put money into this system. Corporate greed dictates what our kids will learn? Hmmm let’s see. Bill Gates invested heavily in the Common Core program. Microsoft stands to gain many times over. Jeb Bush pushed it through the Florida Legislature while his brother, Neil, co-founded Ignite!Learning–a software corporation set to benefit from CC. The list goes on and on.

No Child Left Behind started it. Common Core is just a continuation of it. And it will only get worse. Standards DICTATE the tests and testing DRIVES the curriculum.

This is only touching on the math part. I’m sure I will be seeing the English part soon enough. And that’s a whole other post dealing with the 70/30 technical/classical structure that kills the desire to read.

Oh and data mining and surveillance….don’t even…

Another favorite Einstein quote is this: “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” And if we can’t get anyone to think differently than those who dictate the curriculum, then each generation suffers even more. Common Core is NOT the answer. Rather than dumbing down our society because they can’t pass a test, how about we take interest in, and responsibility for, our children. Stop letting someone else raise your child!

It does NOT take a village, people! It takes parents!

Want to learn more about what Common Core is? Watch these 5 videos that explain it better than I can.

Part 1 of 5 Stop The Common Core
Part 2 of 5 Stop The Common Core
Part 3 of 5 Stop The Common Core
Part 4 of 5 Stop The Common Core
Part 5 of 5 Stop The Common Core



  1. Ping from Final September #WriteMotivation Update « WriteBackwards:

    […] to re-learn how to do math. And we just can’t understand this whole thing! I mean really?! (check out my previous post)  Every rule we’ve been taught these last 4000 years is now thrown out the window and […]

  2. Ping from Rebekah Loper:

    And this is why I will homeschool my children.

  3. Ping from Sue Ann Bowling:

    Being a god deal older than you, the only multiple-choice tests I remember were every 3 or 4 years and fill in the space between the lines. And the college boards, but they were then very new and I don’t think all colleges required them. But as a college professor of physics I was appalled to find that my students, while in some cases they had memorized the formulas for area and volume, had no idea of what area and volume were. They could work simple problems with how many 1″ cubes it took to form, say, a 2″ cube, and how may 1″ squares of paper it took to cover it, but had no idea that they had just done the volume and surface area problems.

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