Dear 2016-2020 President,
I am writing to you today about a topic that influences the lives of almost every student in the public school system : Common Core. Common Core masquerades as an alternate curriculum to get students “College and career ready”. While this is a nice ideal, Common Core does little to achieve this and instead presents more problems for parents and students alike. Many people, including myself, are against Common Core and believe that it is an ineffective method of teaching.
I am a sophomore in a high school that has adopted the Common Core, so I have had a lot of experience with it. Common Core claims that it isn’t a curriculum, however the standardized testing practically forces the teachers to teach to the test, instead of teaching what they wish to teach. The reason that teachers must teach the test is because the results are used to evaluate the teachers, says rethinkingschools.org a group dedicated to improving the quality of education for students, through a process which involves adding a lot of numbers such as student growth percentiles. There are a few problems with this system, such as the students’ fatigue and sickness means that the test scores will vary day to day. This means that the system will not accurately measure the teachers’ effectiveness, when in fact it measures the many variables that are associated with testing.
There are some people who claim that common core is beneficial, and helps students learn. They will say things like “standards from top performing countries played a significant role in the math and English language arts standards.” (School Reform) or “the standards have made use of a large and growing body of evidence.” (School Reform). These are examples of statements that are specific, valid and provable. There are also statements made that are very general, not provable, or in some cases, not true. Some of these include “The Mathematical progressions presented in the Common Core State Standards are coherent and based on evidence.” (School Reform) and “The Standards recognize that both content and skills are important.” (School Reform). These statements are very vague and should be supported with lots of factual evidence or examples, neither of which are presented in the article. Coherent means one thing to you, a different thing to me, and yet another thing to the author of the article, meaning that statements like those aren’t very effective
Another problem is that common core itself is a new set of “standards”, which in itself is a problem. The reason this is a problem is that students who are being taught right now under Common Core can’t ask their parents for help, since Common Core is a new system and their parents probably weren’t taught using it. This is only a temporary problem, but a problem nonetheless.
Aside from those, there are other problems with Common Core, such as the fact that it makes it very difficult for parents to have a say in their child’s education. Since Common Core is run at the federal level, heavily funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, parents can’t just go to their local school board and request a change, they have to wait for the election day for a state official to voice their opinion, assuming that their chosen official is elected. Even if their chosen official is elected they might not choose to voice their opinion about common core, or their voice might not be heard among the many other state officials.
While these are some of the problems with Common Core, I believe that they are the biggest. Making it very difficult for parents to change their child’s education and forcing teachers to teach to the “standards” set by it hardly seem to be getting children “College and career ready”. I am writing to you President, in hopes that you will do something about Common Core, that you will change it for the better, or remove it entirely.