Let’s Beat this Common Core Drum One More Time

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Let's Beat this Common Core Drum One More Time

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?

A lot.

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?

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreve­port. Fol­low her on Insta­gram at @patbecker25.

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?

A lot.

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?

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.  Follow her on Instagram at @patbecker25.