Common core disaster

ASHLEY FISHER | Evergreen columnist

With hardly any attention from the media or the public, an initiative that largely dismantles local and state control of school curriculum has passed in 45 states.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a set of national education standards that detail the skills K-12 students should possess in English language arts and mathematics by the end of each grade, according to the Common Core State Standards Initiative official website.

The standards were released in 2010, and states were given the incentive to adopt the Common Core Standards due to Race to the Top grants, or in other words, lots of funding.

While advocates claim the purpose of the Initiative is to provide a clear set of expectations for students and teachers, in reality the Initiative is a harmful, bureaucratic program heavily influenced by special interests.

Fortunately, some states are finally beginning to recognize that the Common Core standards are not only detrimental to student learning but are an overall failure. Last month, the board of the New York State Teachers Union unanimously withdrew its support for the Common Core standards, according to an article by Politico.

This has been a huge blow to promoters of Common Core, who rely on teachers to be their most dedicated representatives, and to reassure parents and students that the guidelines will lead to more beneficial instruction. However, now one of the largest groups of educators in the country is publicly declaring that the standards are not working.

The New York union demands “major course corrections before it can consider supporting the standards again,” according to an article by Politico.

Other states are beginning to reconsider their participation as well, due to excessive hidden costs that are taking many states by surprise. Much of the cost is on testing and assessment, teacher training, and new Common Core-aligned textbooks and curriculum, according to USA Today.

The Common Core standards are a central plank in President Barack Obama’s education agenda and a prime example of the overreaching hand of the federal government in what should be state matters.

The point of these standards is to drive curriculum. This directly takes education out of the teacher’s hands and into the hands of the federal government – an administration full of bureaucrats who know little to nothing about authentic teaching and learning.

The Initiative has destroyed the teacher’s influence in making school a rewarding, educational experience. The Initiative has essentially given teachers the duties you might assign a hall monitor by instructing them to drill students with materials created by major publishing houses. Sadly, teachers feel pressured to ‘teach to the test’ unless they want to face the risk of termination.

Data-driven education seeks conformity and a zombie-like adherence to the generic and superficial Common Core. This illogical emphasis on common mass learning will only impede student creativity and authentic understanding and standardize students through a ‘one size fits all’ method.

More states need to reject the Common Core standards and insist on state-led education. Do not allow education to become about money and test scores.

-Ashley Lynn Fisher is a junior English major from Gig Harbor. She can be contacted at 335-2290 or by [email protected] The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the staff of The Daily Evergreen or those of Student Publications.