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Bob Englehart, The Hartford Courant

Common Core: What’s Behind the Curtain?


Friday, September 13, 2013

Although it appears the author of “An Idiot’s Guide to the Common Core” seemed to approach his work with an unbiased opinion, it is unfortunate so many facts about the Common Core Standards were left out of the article. School administrators and political leaders are conveniently leaving several things out of the discussion. Could it be because these facts would awaken the sleeping giant, aka concerned parents?

One fact is that teachers and parents are completely unaware of the runaway freight train that is about to hit 46 states come the 2014-15 school year. Most teachers are in a pre-Common Core euphoria. Who wouldn’t be? These new standards offer the opportunity to get out of the unrealistic goals set by No Child Left Behind while encouraging them to teach critical thinking and a deeper understanding of learning in their classrooms. What they don’t know is Common Core is No Child Left Behind on steroids. Teacher’s evaluations and pay will now be tied to assessment tests that have so far failed miserably in New York and Kentucky, leaving children in tears, teachers shocked and confused, and parents frustrated.

The article failed to mention that Common Core math standards push algebra 1 to the 9th grade rather that the 8th grade, where it is today, and pushes calculus out of the equation completely for high school students. The standard’s method of geometry was tested 50 years ago in the Soviet Union and was quickly thrown out, never to be tried anywhere else in the world. That is until now. The Common Core standards are said to prescribe improved methods of teaching; for example, it calls for teaching similar and congruent triangles using “rigid method,” an experimental teaching method that has never been successfully used in K-12 education. I don’t know about you, but I am not okay with our children being used as guinea pigs.

The article also failed to mention that handwriting is being taken out of the curriculum as there is so much critical thinking to do there will be no time to teach it. Who needs to learn cursive anyway with all the technology literally at our children’s fingertips? Forget all the studies that have shown that handwriting is critical to the production of creative and well-written text and enhancement of ideas, composition, and expression.

Are parents aware that the English Language Arts standards are changing the balance of classic literature to the extent that only 30 percent of required reading in high school will be classic literature and 70 percent will be informational text? I encourage parents, especially parents of high school students, to take a look at the Common Core reading list. One particular book assigned to 11th graders has many parents in Colorado outraged. The Bluest Eye contains graphic sex scenes that would make most adults blush. Out with Huck Finn, in with pornography.

Bill Evers, a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and a member of the Institution’s Koret Task Force on K-12 Education who also served on the California State Academic Standards Commission, calls Common Core “a monumental disaster.”

And legislators have failed to mention that Common Core is going to cost California taxpayers $2 billion and counting; albeit, they have figured out how to keep it from affecting you. The state has approved bonds that will extend the tax burden to the next generation of taxpayers, who ironically are the children we are trying to help, if I am not mistaken.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. As a concerned mom, I encourage everyone to do his or her own “homework”. You won’t have to go much further than your state and federal boards of education and government websites. Commoncorefacts.com is also a great resource for more information.

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