It’s been said that Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, but in the case of Common Core implementation, I’d say the word “parent” could easily be inserted. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, message boards - you do not have to look very far to find a post, thread or entire account dedicated to a common hatred for Common Core. Facebook pages titled “Common Sense against Common Core” and “Against Common Core” have fans who are passionate about dismantling the initiatives that are ruining the educational journey of their kids and dumbing them down for testing. A viral meme reads “Wow! This Common Core homework makes so much sense... said no parent, ever.” Parents appear to be both confused and angered by Common Core benchmarks that, at least in theory, are designed to improve national learning standards.
On Monday, I wrote about the ways in which I believe politics will contribute to the downfall of Common Core initiatives. Today I want to look at the ways parents will eventually succeed in the same way.
It’s just too darn hard.
The heightened concepts of learning and retaining Common Core materials means that some students will get left behind. The aggressiveness of the learning campaigns, however, make it difficult for teachers to spend extra time on subjects or circle back to them once most of the class has retained them. In a perfect world, this is where the parents would step in and fill the gap, or at least hire a tutor to do it. Ever since No Child Left Behind legislation, however, the assumption is that public schools are responsible for the total learning process of all their students. Parents who find that Common Core is leaving their own children behind find it easier to point the finger at the standards instead of initiating a way to make them work for their kids.
The “I don’t understand it” mentality.
Particularly when it comes to math, some of the new-fangled methods that Common Core implements are foreign to parents. Moms and dads who remember excelling in elementary school math are suddenly befuddled by the homework questions their second-graders must figure out. Parents, even the very young ones, did not use many of the tactics now in place in K-12 classrooms and certainly were not required to learn as many complicated subjects at such a young age. This lack of comprehension translates to lack of confidence - and causes parents to become defensive about the materials their children are expected to learn.
Stop teaching my kid to the test.
Parents are a finicky bunch when it comes to education. They want the best career opportunities for their kids but resent the idea of teaching too specifically for the simple sake of scoring higher on an assessment test. The items on state assessment tests, more than ever, are designed to test the knowledge set deemed appropriate for the future economy (in part, at least). Though parents want the best job opportunities for their kids, they don’t want knowledge to be so narrowly dispersed. The truth is that no teacher has enough time to teach everything to his or her students. Some of that learning must happen at home and in other real-world applications.
Standards are a calculated guess as to what learning materials should be prioritized among U.S. students - not an end-all-be-all list. Parents see items that they deem “important” missing from Common Core standards and believe it signals a complete dysfunction of the benchmarks. The growing movement to protest or even eliminate standardized tests is being driven mostly by parents. Though it’s unlikely that they will ever truly succeed on this front, their outspoken concerns about Common Core will eventually aid in dismantling the standards - particularly if their political representatives are listening.
In the last part of this series I’ll write about the ways the logistics of Common Core standards will lead to their downfall.
Do you think parents are right in their Common Core complaints, or off-base?
Dr. Matthew Lynch is the author of the newly released textbook, The Call to Teach: An Introduction to Teaching. To order it via Amazon, please click on the following link.
The opinions expressed in Education Futures: Emerging Trends in K-12 are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.