Critics question Common Core’s effectiveness

By Michael Sharnoff, Associate Online Editor
March 24th, 2014

Common Core has been mired in controversy for the curriculum and because opponents view it as federal interference in local affairs

common-core-wisdom-effectivenessCommon Core State Standards are a set of rigorous academic standards in math and English. The Common Core has been adopted in 45 states and the District of Columbia.

Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, this academic initiative was intended to ensure that students graduate from high school with critical thinking skills to help them lead a successful life.

eSchool News has covered Common Core Standards extensively. The initiative may be losing public support as a result of limited resources for implementation, underdeveloped high stakes testing, and what critics see as a set of standards that stifles creativity.

(Next page: What fuels Common Core controversy?)

1 2 Read More »

5 Responses to “Critics question Common Core’s effectiveness”

March 24, 2014

I believe the mysterious kindergarten worksheet was the result of an educator in a hurry, who didn’t review what was being sent home. Either the picture was pasted to the wrong text or there is a page missing. It is probably an effect of insufficient staffing or too little teacher planning time, which would result in such errors whether or not Common Core standards existed.

I don’t have a PhD, but I do understand this worksheet. An example of a subtraction story for this page might be: “There are 10 trees in the park. If 5 of them had to be cut down, how many would be left?” or “There are 5 people playing at the park. When 2 of them have to go home, how many will be left?” I don’t see in the Common Core standards where it specifically requires teachers to ask things in this way/ create things that do so. The standards simply say: Solve addition and subtraction word problems, and add and subtract within 10, e.g., by using objects or drawings to represent the problem and represent addition and subtraction with objects, fingers, mental images, drawings, sounds (e.g., claps), acting out situations, verbal explanations, expressions, or equations. I think this is from a textbook company and not the Common Core standards themselves.

March 31, 2014

Much of what is circulating on social media about the Common Core Standards is the equivalent of urban myth perpetuated by people who have not taken the time and effort to read the Standards. As for the examples of educational travesties cited, there will always be a few school districts who choose poorly designed curricula and there will always be a teachers who use less than great teaching activities. This will happen regardless of the educational Standards followed (or not followed, as the case may be). Blaming every educational shortcoming on the Common Core Standards is to overlook, and thus fail to address, the real problem in these examples.

May 8, 2014

While the picture asking the kindergartener to write a few stories for homework obliquely addresses the need to learn math, teaching math in this way is not a Common Core requirement. It is an example of less than effective implementation of a very wise idea. As a board member, I have read the CC standards as posted on their website. It’s very simple. To graduate from high school, here are the things students should learn. College degrees have similar requirements. I know what to expect, as a minimum, from a student with a BS in mechanical engineering. I can compare a BSME from Ohio State with a BSME from UCLA.