“Common Core” curriculum concerns

Recently you may have noticed a number of articles mentioning parents who are up in arms over the adoption of “Common Core” curriculum “standards”.

Most of the issues with “Common Core” math seem to be four-fold:

A) It seems like a general, overall “dumbing-down” of subjects so that the lowest common denominator is served.

B) It seems like a ‘testing-out’ of unproven ways of teaching these subjects, using our kids as ‘in-the-field’ guinea pigs.

C) The texts and worksheets are often so poorly written –  with typos, parts left out, etc…

D) Many parents are mentioning having to shell out additional money for private tutoring for their children so that they won’t be at a disadvantage in upper grades and college, stemming from the lack or proper subject coverage in the younger grades due to “Common Core” curriculum “standards” that are taught in school.

Here is an email I wrote today to my girls’ principal and cc’ed to their school counselor who I spoke with briefly about it recently.

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Dear Principal X,

I have brought up the topic of “Common Core” math and certain disturbing things I had heard about it from other parents, with both of my childrens’ teachers. I expressed that I was concerned that the extrapolated effect of inadequate foundation building at this young age might result in struggles when in the higher grades and college.

I’ve experienced this myself – we moved frequently when I was young. In one school, I was to deal with foundational math concepts that would lead into beginning algebra – the semester AFTER I had already moved away from that city, and in the school I arrived at – they had already covered it in the semester BEFORE I moved there. I fell through that crack and was perpetually confused and struggling with math, as that school had no resources to catch me up.

I understand the theory behind having “Common Core” curriculum – to eliminate situations like this – however, in an effort to nationally similarize what students are taught, it seems that what was chosen by the “powers that be” may be missing certain key foundational and essential skills, while emphasizing other “skills” and concepts that seem to serve no realistic purpose except, perhaps, as some sort of experimental “testing-out” of hitherto unproven new-fangled schools of thought among curriculum developers and manufacturers.

When I broached the topic with Mrs. K, Hosanna’s teacher, I received a short and to the point answer – she acknowledges that the text being used has its weak points and that she supplements with additional worksheets.  I am satisfied with this.

When I broached the topic with Mrs. G, however, I got a long, rambling, unfocused speech that seemed to consist of how she has the students perpetually “circling around” (she repeated this phrase quite alot), and having my concerns regarding other parents’ experience-based anecdotes about the failings of “Common Core” math, dismissed out of hand because she claimed those were only based on those parents’ “feelings”.

I submit to you:

http://news.yahoo.com/bizarro-common-core-kindergarten-math-homework-stumps-dad-190206078.html

This article also includes PLENTY of links to other similarly alarming, actual, factual, REAL experiences of “Common Core” math.

Additionally, at the last parent/teacher conferences, Mrs. K showed me Hosanna’s weekly writing journal, which I was happy to see, but perplexed, because Mrs. G – Halle’s teacher – had never showed me that for Halle.

Mrs. K held up Hosanna’s standard-issue journal to Halle and Halle said she had never seen that in her own classroom, even though Mrs. K said it was supposed to in use in all the 1st Grade classrooms.  So I am concerned that Halle will be unecessarily falling behind in math and writing, as it seems those subjects might not necessarily be adequately addressed, in favor of repetitive, “circling around” lessons which seem to only cover a very small amount of material.

This is a shame because Halle is a very bright child. I am concerned that the windows of opportunity during which certain subjects like math, writing, etc. are more easily learned may be missed.

https://www.extension.purdue.edu/providerparent/child%20growth-development/braindev.htm

Thank you very much for your understanding and help with this matter.

Sincerely,

Lara N.

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How about you?  Have you had any recent experiences with the “Common Core” curriculum? Please let me know in a comment below 🙂

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