Like any good parent, I want my child to succeed in life and that includes succeeding in school as well. I want him to become a meaningful member of society and live life to its fullest. I want him to be happy. I vowed to him upon finding out I was pregnant that I would do whatever I could to help him in life. I would support him and love him and guide him. And I would fight for him.
Arizona is not the leader in great education. We rank in the bottom of all states when it comes to testing, funding and scores. Our graduation rate is low, the truancy rate is high, and we lose great teachers to other states that offer better teaching environments.
When Fat Daddy and I were looking to purchase our home we tried to pick an neighborhood in the Phoenix metro area with better schools, since privatizing Little Man’s education was and is out of financial reach for us at the time. The location we picked has six “community schools” that are all K-8 and a traditional school where you need to pass a slew of entrance exams in order to be accepted. This Traditional school is part of the district and is tuition free. Little Man is wise above his years so we had him tested for the traditional school. He was accepted and has been there since Kindergarten (he’s in first grade now).
Academically he’s doing amazing. He’s reached high honors six of the seven quarters he’s been in school (reaching honors his very first quarter). This school is very competitive and if the student doesn’t do as well as their tests state they should, they can get moved out of the school. That’s a lot of pressure for these kiddos. Homework is every night and even on school breaks. I’m fine with this. I say the more knowledge the better. Keep their little minds active and moving. I do push Little Man, only because I know he can do it. He’s an awful lot like me: stubborn, so if he doesn’t want to do something, getting him to do it is like pulling teeth.
What I do have a problem with is HOW my kiddo is being taught certain concepts. And this is directly related to the crazy platform called COMMON CORE.
What is Common Core you ask?
Common Core is the “State Standards Initiative preparing America’s students for College and Career”. 44 states, including the District of Columbia and four U.S territories have adopted the Common Core and are implementing the standards according to their own timelines.
WHAT? According to their own timelines? What on Earth does that mean? State A can do things completely different then state R? Doesn’t make any sense to me.
Okay Fat Momma, you gave us the text book definition of common core but what IS IT?
Common core is a teaching module used to teach our children how to learn math, how to read, literacy in social studies, science and technical subjects. Basically, what this boils down to is the way generations of students learned to add, subtract, read, etc was WRONG and this committee of “experts” is going to teach it the correct way moving forward.
Case in point – Little Man doing his math homework the past few nights.
The worksheet he brought home had the following problems on them:
48 + 17 63-48 95+12 80-69
The instructions were to solve and answer. So, that’s what we attempted to do. Little Man made this elaborate spreadsheet like graph on his paper and started answering the problems. I asked what he was doing and he said this was how he was taught: Make columns for tens, ones and remainders, add and cross the lines out and then you’ll get the answer. Remainders? I thought we were doing addition and subtraction, not division…
We struggled. A lot. My mind couldn’t comprehend this graph-like solving technique. So I told Little Man to forget that and showed him how I learned to solve these problems. While he wasn’t struggling as much as I in using the graph-like system, the light bulb definitely went on when I showed him how I solved the problems. He zipped through his homework and got every answer correct.
Fast forward to the next night and similar homework. We sat at the dining room table and he proceeded to tell me that the teacher told him he can’t solve the problems like his parents did because that’s not the correct way and if he does do it that way, he’ll lose points. EXCUSE ME? Isn’t the goal of this to get the correct answer? Since when do we grade something that’s correct but take points away because it’s not answered in the proper E=Mc2 way?
Does this make sense to you because it sure in the hell doesn’t make any sense to me.
And this my friends is how Common Core works.
We are going to be educating thousands of kiddos who will get credit for showing their work even if the answer is wrong. Common Core states that the standards recognize that both content and skill are important. REALLY? Because that’s NOT what I see going on here. My son is getting points taken away for answering the question CORRECTLY but because he’s not making hash marks in circles encompassed by hexagons inside triangles next to the full moon during a leap year, he’s getting lower grades than Jimmy over there who likes to draw and jump on one foot while chewing bubble gum. Don’t worry Jimmy if you never get a correct answer, as long as you are on your pogo stick feeding hippopotami as you knit grandma a sweater, you’re gonna go far kid. Real far. To me this is the same as giving every child on a sports team a trophy whether or not they earned one just to not let someone feel different. WE ARE DIFFERENT. EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON is different. We should embrace this. Not make us all alike!
This country is in a world of hurt. Instead of re-inventing the wheel, why don’t we find the root cause of our failing educational system and begin there. I can’t be the only one who thinks this way. With all the cuts in the education system I understand teachers need to do what they’re told to keep their jobs but I wish some would revolt and stand up for the kids.
I can’t wait until the day I go to an accountant to get my taxes done and the “kid” in front of me says,
Oh jeepers, I need to make a tens column and a ones column before I can do your taxes”.