The Common Core Is a Step In The Wrong Direction

Rachel Ellis and Loralee Bandy

The Common Core is a series of standards in Mathematics and Language Arts that started in 2009. It was written by a group of 27, consisting only a few actual educators, and was continued through several D.C.-based organizations. It is currently being used as a base for what students should know by the end of a school year.

According to research by the NY Times, around 1.2 million students in New York completed their first Common Core State Standard tests in April. The Common Core tests will be administered to students of all ages in the public schools of 45 states, including Colorado, by the 2014-15 school year. Alaska, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia are currently uninvolved, while Minnesota will only give the English test.

Debate over the benefits and detriments of the Common Core program has swept the nation in schools and politics. Although Common Core attempted to improve the educational status of America, the end result is becoming quite the opposite.

Common Core is intended to create a national education policy to help stabilize educational programs across the nation in order to raise America’s global education ranking, as the country has been lagging behind others. The nation has never before had a national policy. Instead, policies have varied from state to state.

Research suggests that the Common Core system is incredibly flawed. The higher test scores will go to teachers with wealthier students, while the lower scores will go to teachers with students learning English, with disabilities, or in high-poverty schools.

The assessments are designed to be more rigorous than those of the past. The Core’s aim is to make every teenager “college and career ready”. The end result will actually be a widening of the social gap as the wealthier students will turn towards methods such as private tutoring to perform better on these tests. The highly advanced students will become hindered by the standardized policy as lower than average students will fall even further behind.

Not only is the national policy flawed by this, but it was also introduced with barely any public discussion. According to the NY Times, Common Core lacks a public office, board of directors, and paid staff. The website also doesn’t provide an address or telephone number for others to contact them in order for their questions and concerns to be answered.

In recent years, The US has faced waves of chaos and reform. No other country in the world has undergone such radical educational change in such a short period of time and administered so many tests. The impact has been confusion and the loss of opportunity to regain lost ground in the global education race.

The Washington Post has described some of the major federal programs involved.
George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind campaign, followed by Barack Obama’s Race to the Top procedures are both very reliant on standardized testing. This newly enacted vigor found in the Core will pressure teachers to “teach to the test” and narrow curriculum as test results will affect decisions for teachers and students alike. This new need to “teach to the test” has been noted as demoralizing educators, and the overall reliance on standardized testing has cost many experienced teachers their jobs and has even ended in the closure of public schools.