The Benefits and Disadvantages of the Implementation of Common Core Educational System

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In the year 2009, a new version of the education system had emerged during President Obama’s term to assist and guide students to a path of success, but what if this could not be further from the truth? The Common Core Curriculum claims to prepare students for the future: career, college, and life. With this new learning system, students are supposedly better supported in areas such as mathematics and English composition by comprehending a new level of rigor. Advocates of this new education system include the well-known Bill Gates and his foundation as well as the Obama administration who also advocates for the Race to The Top and No Child Left Behind programs. Both programs are closely related to the Common Core Curriculum implementation. All these seemingly beneficial programs and supporters would assemble a positive outlook on this new education system. The fact of the matter is is that the Common Core Curriculum and standardized tests are degrading school systems, and students, along with their families and teachers, are being negatively impacted.

The purpose of Common Core and standardized testing is that it allows students to prepare themselves for college and the future by using rigorous content. In reality, these rigorous tests are far more complex and strenuous than college testing. Instead of preparing students for college, these tests are far more focused on equaling the same level, or higher, as college classes. Because the SATs are now closely aligned with Common Core standards, several colleges are no longer looking at or requiring SAT scores such as the University of Texas at Austin, Arizona State University, and the University of South Dakota. Learning is an experience that takes time to adjust and understand the basic principles; and, with Common Core jumping from the bottom of the comprehension scale to the very top, an unhealthy version of retaining information is acquired. Memorizing the material rather than learning and understanding the standards does not prepare students for the future. This curriculum also claims that high stakes standardized tests hold teachers accountable for teaching the curriculum to its full extent so that students can learn the material fully; this could not be further from the truth. Teachers are most focused on preparing the students for the upcoming tests and not on learning itself. Teachers must push the students and their learning capabilities, and this can cause teachers to lose focus on what level the children are learning in. For example, if an advanced student who comprehends the material easier than others, they will be held back with the rest of the group.

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These students cannot move forward at another level to be given advanced testing to grow faster. This also goes for the learning impaired students. Special ed students who are learning on lower levels will be given the same test as every student in that grade even if they have never seen the material, and this results in both the teacher and the student being held accountable for the test results. There is a controlled learning pace that not every student can follow or keep up with; this defines educational equality and ruins decision making for students and parents. Parents will not have a say in their child(ren)’s educations, but the unsuited standard writers will.

Dr. Sandra Stotsky, a reviewer in the Validation Committee of the core’s standards, emphasizes that “English language arts and mathematics standards...created by nonexperts” have been implemented in schools (Stotsky 3). These nonexperts have been selected by the curriculum’s supporter, the Bill Gates Foundation. Members of the College Board, the ACT, and America’s Choice were chosen to write these standards, but what about those who will teach the standards? English and mathematics professors are excluded from the making of these standards. Stotsky claims that writers of the English standards, David Coleman and Susan Pimentel, “had never taught reading or English in K-12 or at the college level” (Stotsky). The lack of expertise in the teaching and education system needs to impact who can write these standards, and Coleman and Pimentel were chosen by the Gates Foundation. Craig Sower, Professor of English at Shujitsu University, also points out how “other writers for CCMS (Common Core Math Standards) and ELA are closely connected to the Gates Foundation, but similarly ill equipped for writing usable standards” (5).

Most of the states in America have adopted this reform on education; however, states such as Texas, Oklahoma, and Alaska have not implemented these standards (Sower 5). The correlation of success in education can be compared to where standardized testing is and is not executed. For example, “Finland, ranked as one of the top developed countries for education” has ruled out all forms of standardized tests because of the tests ability to “narrow the curriculum” and weaken the learning system (Polleck 2). Massachusetts, a state that has adopted Common Core, is highly ranked in the United States for education but is experiencing a downfall in the English Comprehension category. Bauerlein et al. states that “students’ [will leave] high school with little domain knowledge in areas such as literature, language, and literary criticism” in MA. Author of “The Common Core: Far From Home,” Michael Toscano, states that “scores have plummeted in Minnesota, Kentucky, and New York where Common Core has been implemented and tested” (17). He explains that families and communities are a necessity for the growth of a child’s education. With the implementation of Common Core, parents will not have a say in their child’s education because standards are already placed equally for every student. Parental voices are shut down, and opinions on what requirements their child needs to be successful in school is no longer accounted for.

Common Core, the seemingly beneficial education reform created by federal associations, has commonly been mistaken for its claims on education. The college and career preparatory standards are laced with a rigorous content that supposedly will assist children in the future. The shocking truth behind the creators of this education reform, the learning mold children must learn in, the strict standards teachers must perform in, and the negative results Common Core has had on multiple states have all led to the assumption that the Common Core Curriculum and standardized tests ruin education for students, teachers, and parents.

Children are the future of the world with different learning styles and capabilities that all need their own versions of teaching to understand material. Albert Einstein once said, “If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid,” meaning that individuals have different specialties and skills. A student who can only comprehend mathematics one way may be different from another child’s way of learning. There is no perfect mold to place on children and their education because everyone absorbs information differently. Why do we choose to give America’s children, the American only future, this downgrading curriculum that teaches a one-size-fits-all ideal? The inflexible template Common Core creates for children does not allow creativity, change, and movement in a child’s education; therefore, this embarrassing version of how standards should be taught in school negatively impacts the world’s future.

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