By: Pat Austin
SHREVEPORT – Can I just beat this drum one more time?
Let’s talk about the American public school system just once more, because I’m just not seeing the outrage that I would expect to see if parents really knew what was going on in classrooms with regard to curriculum.
In the first place, why do people think Common Core is gone? I’ve seen over and over on social media that “we aren’t using Common Core” – in whatever state you’re in. Perhaps some are not, but be very clear: even if your curriculum in your state is Louisiana Believes or Iowa Core, or whatever it is, it’s still Common Core.
What is wrong with Common Core?
Common Core is scripted lessons.
Common Core is sterile, pre-made PowerPoint slides.
Common Core is 75% non-fiction.
Common Core is unrelenting standardized testing, some of which take three days to complete.
Common Core is stripped of teacher creativity and innovation.
Common Core is the heavy hand of Big Brother threatening to enter your classroom at any given time to ask which scripted lesson you are on and to examine your scripted teacher notes to be sure you’re reading them and that you are not altering the pre-made slides. Woe be unto you that do these things: you’ll get marked down on your evaluation rubric.
A spinoff of Common Core is the PLC, or Professional Learning Community, where teachers meet to discuss “data” from tests and work together to determine how to improve student learning.
Some states, like Louisiana for example, have no ELA textooks (we can’t have those kids reading fiction now, can we?) and instead work from reams and reams of copies from the curriculum department. It’s a paper nightmare.
The result of all this? Frustrated kids. Frustrated teachers. Kids learning only how to take a test.
Meanwhile, we are lining the pockets of people like Pearson who distribute these tests.
Why is there a national teacher shortage? It’s not just about low pay. I’d venture to say that’s not it at all. Most teachers go into the profession knowing the pay is low – that’s not why we teach. It’s been low since the beginning of time and, trust me on this, we all know that teachers will never make the kind of scratch a basketball player or a football player makes.
No, teachers are leaving the profession at an alarming rate because they don’t get to teach any more. Anyone can read a script, right? Anyone can pull up the state mandated slides and read them, right?
Why are parents putting up with this canned curriculum business? What are their kids learning?
I’ve long been a believer and supporter of public education but if I had a child in the public school system right now, and they were under Common Core, we’d be homeschooling or I’d sell my soul to get into private school.
Can someone explain why we are still putting up with this?