Louder voices against common core

May 4, 2015

st0504-01Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Georgia — three states that received failing grades by Harvard’s Director of the Program on Educational Policy and Governance Paul Peterson in his “State Proficiency Standards Strength” evaluation — are forced by Common Core to significantly raise their standards to a curriculum that they’ve never experienced before.

For states already equipped with world-class standards, such as South Carolina and Massachusetts, Common Core forced them to ignore their previous success and to adopt a lower standard.

However, the biggest problem remains: as teachers are subjected to slapdash administrative evaluation of their students’ standardized test scores — basically meaning that if their students don’t score well, teachers can be fired unquestionably — they begin to focus, in the classroom, less on the freedom and creativity of learning but rather on the rigid tests themselves. Even further, some teachers found themselves taking fraudulent actions to raise test scores, such as one in Atlanta, where educators were involved in racketeering and inflating test scores for children of struggling schools.

This ‘twisted’ attitude towards education is well referenced by countless educators and parents for their nationwide campaign against Common Core.

According to the New York State Allies for Public Education, 156,000 students refused to take the English test in April, a figure adding up from data of only 50% of the NY districts.

Why? One of the reasons why parents discourage their children from test-taking is that some of the standards are too high for their children, setting them up to fail. They believe that the unreasonably difficult curriculum, especially for primary school students, is failing to cultivate the talents of the students.

The number of students who refuse to take standardized tests, excluding absences, rose significantly from those of previous years, a rather ironic consequence of the supposedly ‘well-intentioned’ Common Core initiative. While school administrators demand parents to comply with the changes of the curriculum by citing possible school budget cuts due to the lack of standardized test participation, some parents are steadfast.

Non-governmental organizations, such as the NYS Allies for Public Education, are finding ways to fight against the change by recommending NY parents to use a pre-written letter template to their school board administrators and principals and to opt their children out from testing. However, some proponents of Common Core argue that the new curriculum teaches students important concepts such as analyzing and comprehending complex texts and mathematical skills that prepares students for STEM careers.


st0504-01-1 Hojoon Kim
Phillips Exeter Academy 10th Grade

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