Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Louisiana Teacher Writes About Common Core in Her Classroom

The following is a letter from a 3rd grade teacher in a Louisiana public school. It gives her opinion on Common Core based on how it is working in her classroom.

Common Core: A Destructive Experiment
Teachers and parents have recently become vocal about their opposition to Common Core, which has sparked some questions: Why is there a national debate about Common Core?
If Common Core is such a good “product”, why are the proponents having such a hard time “selling” it?
As a 3rd grade math teacher, my goal is to help children develop a love for math and learning. I have been successful in meeting the individual learning needs of my students by incorporating hands-on methods and by being flexible in my teaching methods. Unfortunately, Common Core has taken the fun out of learning. Students are complaining of math being boring, confusing, and tedious in its completion.
Common Core treats every child as identical with identical needs, abilities, and learning styles, as well as using a confusing method of teaching math. According to common core methods, using the standard algorithm doesn’t give students a “deep and conceptual understanding” of what they are doing. That claim has not been supported by any research. However, it has been proven that correctly applied standard algorithms work the first time, every time. Many students prefer the traditional method of math, finding the new math to be confusing and tedious.
Hours of training and in-services have been held just to help teachers understand these new standards….time and money taken away from teaching our students. Promoters of Common Core claim that the standards are “clear and concise”. The amount of training required to “unpack” the standards contradicts the claim of “clear and concise”.
Parents are just as frustrated because they feel alienated from helping their children with homework.
Also, there is concern that children are not learning the basics of math through Common Core instruction.
If you do not fully understand the Common Core standards, please spend a little time educating yourself on the topic.
Parents, teachers, and concerned citizens are refusing to “buy” this experimental product for a reason.
This national debate over Common Core will continue until this destructive experiment on our children is stopped.
Julie Dyson
Elementary School Teacher
-DeQuincy, LA

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh good Lord! "Why is there a national debate about Common Core?" Because Glenn Beck and Freedom Works make a lot of money by ginning up fear of the boogey-man. Common Core is just their latest cause. The main problem with Common Core is that it insists that teachers and students actually do some real thinking. No, it's not easy. It's work. After my 25 years in higher education I can safely say that there are few things that make people madder than insisting that they think. Julie proves my point.

Anonymous said...

Glenn Beck is NOT the problem. Common Core IS the problem. There SHOULD be a national debate about requiring the use of an unproven set of national standards whose insistence on visual math methods hinder the teaching, development, and, yes, the understanding of mathematics. I helped some elementary students working on a worksheet for their math class. They were trying to subtract two digit numbers using "borrowing." To do so, they were required to "decompose the number" by drawing rectangles to represent the tens digits and individual squares to represent the units digit. To borrow, they had to cross out one of the rectangles representing a ten in the minuend (top number),and draw ten unit squares to add to those they had already drawn. Next, they had to cross out the required number of rectangles and squares representing the amount to be subtracted. Then the student had to "read" or "count" the rectangles and squares left in order to get the difference (answer). Try having any student do that for a 25 to 30 problem work sheet. Students were getting the problems incorrect, not due to a lack of understanding, but because they were getting confused with how many boxes they were drawing! The process was tedious, time consuming, and unnecessary! Using the idea as a means of introducing the concept is one thing. Requiring everyone in the class to learn to subtract in that manner is something else! Many concepts in mathematics build one upon the other. If a student does not have a sound foundation in the basics because too much time is spent "drawing boxes," it hurts his ability to progress to more advanced mathematical concepts and processes.

Reading fiction and using one's imagination and creativity has been de-emphasized -even in Reading courses! Being able to support opinions by regurgitating information contained in dry, nonfictional texts is promoted.

The debate on Common Core is long overdue!

Anonymous said...

The debate is more complicated than your liberal finger pointing to Fox talking heads. The debate consists of accountability, competition in accountability, poverty of students, curriculum, funding, assimilation, flopping commitment of leaders, poor implementation, parental support, shifts from student accountability to teacher, discipline, student attitudes/interests, inadequate technology, work ethic and lack of support when teachers try to create it, etc. I'm sure if I tried I could put the debate you are dismissing in alphabetical order.

Anonymous said...

The author of the article was talking about young children having difficulty with the tedious and confusing processes in Common Core. Third graders should not be compared to young adults being taught in higher education. There are plenty of opportunities for children to "think" in school without CC. The assumption that teachers don't like CC because they have to actually do "real thinking" is pure ignorance. The jobs teachers do in public elementary, middle, and high schools cannot be compared with those in higher education. They have enough to do without all the extra paperwork CC is creating. If teachers would be given the time to create their own lessons without new programs constantly being shoved down their throats, we might actually see real improvements in education!

Anonymous said...

Amen!

Anonymous said...

It is very insulting to have all these programs constantly being touted as THE solution and then three years later, if that long, they are gone! As if teachers can't create lessons that are strong, pedagogically appropriate and authentic! Parents are less and less involved with their child's life, they struggle to even help with homework and now parents with younger children are unable to help at all! Teachers need to take control of their profession, have external agencies made up of respected teachers do the observations (Like hospitals and healthcare does) and give us the time to work on our lessons, our professional development and our practice. Between CCSS and PBIS and all the other stuff that doesn't work we have no time for the stuff that does work-excellent teaching!

Anonymous said...

Amen, Anonymous!!