Common Core Analysis

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: April 15, 2017

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Submitted: April 15, 2017

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Common Core is the new way of teaching.  The Common Core State Standards(CCSS) focus on a deeper understanding of material given to students.  It also promotes college and career readiness  The standards are going to make sure everyone gets the same education.  The standards are a great chance to have a better education system, but it needs to be given a chance.

A protestor of the Common Core State Standards will argue that the standards are not suited to fit the needs of our children.  Arguing that standards can not accommodate for everyone’s needs, people believe implementing them is a terrible idea.  Since Common Core requires schools to follow the curriculum, many believe that the standards will adhere to strict requirements, limiting creativity in the classroom.  A very common argument is that common core just does not make any sense.  Many fail to see what common core really is and call for the removal

The issue of implementing Common Core State Standards has long been debated over.  Many firmly believe that the CCSS should not be implemented, believing it will have a negative on children's learning.  One of the reasons is that putting standards in place will leave some children behind in their learning since standards don’t accommodate for everyone.  “Requiring a single set of curriculum guidelines at the high school level is questionable, given the diversity of adolescents’ interests, talents, and pedagogical needs” (Butcher 1).  People are worried that not every child will be able to reach the standards set by the CCSS.  While there is a reason to believe so, I think common core can be beneficial.  If there are no standards put in place, how can we be sure that every student will receive equal education?  Not every state will be teaching the same things, therefore every state will have different qualities of education.  As Michelle Rhee puts it, “students in the same city have unequal access to education depending upon whether they live on the good side or the bad side of town” (1).  Giving everyone equal opportunities to have a good education is one of the reasons the CCSS was put in place.  Also, the standards emphasize the importance of actually understanding the material given to students.  The US stands to improve their education, being ranked 17th in an assessment of the education system (Gayathri 1).  The US needs to keep trying to improve education and I think the CCSS is a step in the right direction.

Besides creating equal education, the CCSS will also improve education in other aspects.  Defenders of the CCSS say that they will limit creativity in classrooms.  Many are quick to think that since these standards will be implemented, work done in a classroom will follow a rigid outline.  Educators are concerned over the lack of creativity that a standard implies.  Some might even say, “Uniformity has sucked the life out of teaching and learning” (Greene 1).  This might be easy to believe, but it is simply not true.  The standards set by the CCSS are more of a guideline than a set of strict rules used to teach.  The curriculum used emphasizes understanding material, but it does not say exactly how the teachers must teach.  It is up to the educator on how to teach; there are many ways to go about teaching.  Therefore, it can be said that creativity is actually imposed. Heather Clayton, the author of Making the Common Core Come Alive! and the principal of Mendon Center Elementary School in Pittsford Central School District, New York, agrees.  Clayton explains that everyone has the capacity to be creative and creativity exists in many forms.  “Each standard in the Common Core has the potential to unleash students’ creative potential” (Clayton 1).  Clayton argues that argues that creativity is important for children to learn, and the CCSS can do just that.  Every teacher has the ability to make the classroom a great environment to learn.  Take, for example, Erica Mariola, a kindergarten teacher in New Orleans and one of four 2015 Fishman Prize winners for superlative classroom practice, who has shown us what teaching creatively can do.  Mariola, much like Clayton, believes Common Core allows for creativity as well as, a deeper understanding of the material taught in the classroom.  To teach her students subtraction, Mariola had them set up bowling pins and knock them down. Afterward, they would write down the equation represented by the pins. (Partelow 1).  Mariola has shown one of many ways Common Core can be made engaging. That said, a reasonable conclusion would be Common Core can be implemented in an engaging manner, even if they do not have the same credentials as Mariola.  

Along with finding Common Core to be too restrictive, people also found other problems with it.  People seem to find Common Core to be ludicrous, especially when it comes to math.  Frustrated parents and confused students, alike, find the way the Common Core teaches math to be ridiculous.  The math problems used in the standards have been criticized and denounced all over social media.  The problems that parents do not understand have become widespread and it has been become a very common thing to see.  It is seen as something that no child should be doing, practically making it a joke on the internet.  An article by the National Review, contains a few math problems that are bashed for being overly complex.  One of the remarks was, “Not willing to ruin addition alone, educators take aim at subtraction as well, forcing students to make visual representations of numbers in columns” (Torres 1).  A reason people have such an aversion to the Common Core math is because of what it is trying to do, teach students to have a deeper understanding of what math really is.  As said in the article, the CCSS are having children do more to find the answer to a simple addition or subtraction problem.  The reason being, children need a greater sense of what goes on in a math problem. The standards also allows for students to obtain an answer in various ways.  “The ability to visualize and break up the problem allows someone to keep track of the values more easily and to more consistently and efficiently produce the correct result without putting pencil to paper” (Goodman 1).  This is saying that the visual representations that the question demanded was not just meaningless work.  Problems like these are not trying to confuse students and certainly not the parents.  Not everyone understands why these problems are used.  So, what course of action is taken by the parents?  Some might try to pull their child out of Common Core testing or petition for the removal of the CCSS, but a majority of parents simply complain about it.  Doug Herrmann, a father from Ohio, found himself in this very situation, perplexed by the convoluted math homework his son was assigned.  Hermann did not take the time to figure out how to help his son.  As said by Hemant Mehta, “Instead, Herrmann wasted everyone’s time by writing a useless check and putting it on Facebook” (Mehta 1).  The check written by Hermann was made out to his son’s school and used “ common core numbers”.  His approach was to mock the Common Core math to make a point.  The “new” ways of doing math are being ridiculed for being different, it is not something that everyone is used to.  It deviates from the normal approach to doing math. This is why Hermann and so many others are so opposed to having the CCSS.

Furthermore, it can be said that the animosity towards Common Core are all based on false pretenses.  The extensive use of social media to express discontent with the CCSS are giving people all the more reason to believe the standards are unacceptable.  When everyone talks about how poor Common Core actually is, it leads people to believe that this is the right way to think.  If everyone says something is terrible, it might lead someone to believe it actually is terrible, by using confirmation bias.  If a person hears outrageous things about Common Core, then all the posts on social media just confirm their already existing belief, Common core is awful.  More and more people are getting roped into this idea without knowing what Common Core actually is doing.  Having such a disapproval is not the best thing.  It should be looked at more in depth, especially when thinking about the future of the children.  The approach that the Common Core math takes, has an emphasis on understanding material given to students.  This will help because it is “a vital way of thinking for students who we would like to understand arithmetic on a deep enough level to facilitate the learning of higher levels of mathematics in a meaningful way”(Goodman 1).  Children need to have a meaningful grasp of mathematics at every grade they enter.  Considering the future, this is the right way to think.

Moreover, it could be that the standards were simply not implemented correctly.  The new standards have not yet been doing so well in schools.  It is perhaps because teachers and students have not yet had the proper time to adapt to these changes.  The standards do not pose much of a problem themselves.  “To give the Common Core a fair shot, we need appropriate professional development for teachers and a more phased introduction of new standardized testing attached to the standards” (Knudson 1).  It would only be fair to have the standards in place for some time before it is determined whether they can be successful or not.  It would also helpful if teachers received help and had all the resources they need to teach this new material.

Another thing to keep in mind, Common Core promises to prepare students to be college and career ready.  Many would agree that teaching kids the fundamentals of math and english is necessary.  They might also agree that kids should be college and career ready by the time they reach high school.  That is a possibility with the CCSS in place.  The CCSS are trying to ensure that students are college and career ready, using clear expectations.  In a survey by the Education Policy Improvement Center (EPIC), college professors agreed that the Common Core Standards aligned with the knowledge and skills students need to have in their courses (Conley 1).  The standards do not believe that just understanding material will suffice, students need to go beyond that to succeed in life.  Even though the CCSS have promise, we can not be certain it will work.  

The United States has always acted on the belief that every student deserve a basic education.  The Common Core State Standards introduces education in a new way.  This manner strives for college and career readiness.  And for the first time, the expectations are the same for almost all students, regardless of where they live.  Things need to be adjusted before it can fully be determined whether the standards are effective or not, however the curriculum should not be scrapped entirely.  These standards are a great opportunity to improve equity and promote excellence.  



 

Work Cited

Butcher, Jonathan. “Why the Common Core Is Bad for America.” Washington Policy Center, 7 May 2012. www.washingtonpolicy.org/publications/detail/why-the-common-core-is-bad-for-america. Accessed 11 Jan 2017.

Gayathri, Amrutha. “US 17th In Global Education Ranking; Finland, South Korea Claim Top Spots.”  International Business Times, 28 Nov.2012.www.ibtimes.com/us-17th-global-education-ranking- finland-south-korea-claim-top-spots-901538. Accessed 11 Jan 2017.

Rhee, Michelle. “Adult Problems Aren't More Important Than Student Needs.” US News, 27 Feb.2014. www.usnews.com/debate-club/are-the-common-core-standards-a-good-idea/adult-problems-arent-more-important-that-student-needs. Accessed 11 Jan 2017.

Greene, David. “The Long Death of Creative Teaching.” US News, 17 Mar. 2014, www.usnews.com / opinion/articles/2014/03/17/how-common-core-standards-kill-creative-teaching. Accessed 13 Jan 2017.

Clayton, Heather. “Creativity and the Common Core.” , www.justaskpublications.com/just-ask-resource-center/e-newsletters/msca/creativity-and-the-common-core/. Accessed 13 Jan 2017.

Partelow, Lisette. “Common Core Doesn't Kill Creativity.” U.S. News &Amp; World Report, U.S. News &Amp; World Report, 20 Aug. 2015, www.usnews.com/opinion/knowledge-bank/2015/08/20/common-core-doesnt-kill-teacher-creativity. Accessed 13 Jan 2017.

Torres, Alec. “The Ten Dumbest Common Core Problems.” , 22 Mar. 2014, www.nationalreview.com/article/373840/ten-dumbest-common-core-problems-alec-torres. Accessed 13 Jan 2017.

Goodman, James. “You’Re Wrong about Common Core Math: Sorry, Parents, but It Makes More Sense than You Think.” , 28 Nov. 2015, www.salon.com/2015/11/28/youre_wrong_about_common_core_math_sorry_parents_but_it_makes_more_sense_than_you_think/.

Mehta, Hemant. “The Dad Who Wrote a Check Using ‘Common Core’ Math Doesn’t Know What He’s Talking About.” , 21 Sept. 2015, www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2015/09/21/the-dad-who-wrote-a-check-using-common-core-math-doesnt-know-what-hes-talking-about/. Accessed 13 Jan 2017.

Knudson, Kevin. “Opinion: The Common Core Is Today's New Math – Which Is Actually a Good Thing.” Phys.org - News and Articles on Science and Technology, 9 Sept. 2015, phys.org/news/2015-09-opinion-common-core-today-math.html. Accessed 13 Jan 2017.

Conley, David et al. “Reaching the Goal: The Applicability and Importance of the CCSS.”EPIC, 23 Aug. 2016, www.epiconline.org/reaching-the-goal-full-report/. Accessed 13 Jan 2017.

 



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