Why the Common Core isn't so Common

I firmly believe that a consistent educational standard is necessary for our students to compete on a global scale.  A scale which unfortunately, has begun tipping in the other direction.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative, is an education push that seeks to make sure students across our country are being taught to such a standard. The Common Core is a dramatic difference from America's current educational standards system for one primary reason. Until recently, we didn’t HAVE a uniform standard across our nation.

For decades, officials have lamented the fact that it's possible for a third-grader who lives in New Jersey to be considered proficient in a subject area, only to be told that he or she is failing if he or she moves across the border to New York. This inconsistency makes it all but impossible to compare student performance across the country. As a parent myself, so often when I hear the word “common” I assume that this means “uniform” or “same”. After all, how can my little angel be the merely "same” as any other child?  My children are not statistics…they are unique and special, after all. However, having common standards does not mean imply that we must have common curriculum. It’s hard to argue that there are tangible advantages to creating consistency in our children’s education. That said, the need for a steady, overarching parameter does not translate to every educator teaching the same lesson, from the same textbook, at the same time.

The biggest problem with the Common Core Standards is that by not involving enough stakeholders on the front end, proponents have opened themselves up to much of the current criticism. According to a Fall 2013 Gallup Poll, among people who have heard of the Common Core, only four of 10 agree “the standards can help make education in the United States more competitive globally; a majority said the standards will make the U.S. less competitive or have no effect.” This failure to effectively communicate the objectives of the Common Core Standards has been one of the biggest deterrents to greater acceptance.

In my opinion what we need is to slow down the expansion of the standards until all stakeholders are able to weigh in with their expertise. After all, our nation's future economic prosperity is at stake.



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  • BeverlyandTim LaBorn
    commented 2014-02-24 10:09:46 -0500
    I agree with Connie Murray, this Common Core is an abomination and needs to be disbanded in New Jersey. It is NOT furthering the education of our children, it is pigeon holing them and teaching them really screwy ways of doing things! I am definitely NOT a fan.
  • Matt Ernandes
    commented 2014-02-20 14:47:25 -0500
    The Common Core needs to Be The floor for a well rounded education that not only includes language arts and mathematics, but The arts and social studies as well.
  • Matt Ernandes
    commented 2014-02-20 14:36:57 -0500
    The Common core State Standards initiative has become far too politicized….
    Not just by elected officials, but by teacher unions, big business, parent groups and taxpayer organizations. Although the goal was to make the United states more competitive, the other underlying goals such as national tests and educational materials with the goal to reduce costs actually will water down the standards already taught at many schools, not just in this Sate but nationally. And in addition, the common core will put even more undue pressure on the youngest of students who are already pressured to simply learn the basics such as socialization as tey begin their education. The Common core shoud be the floor, not the ceiling.
  • Conni Murray
    commented 2014-02-20 14:03:05 -0500
    The latest effort at government control in education comes in a set of standards purportedly set up to help us compete on a global scale. The Common Core State Standards Initiative, better and more simply known as Common Core, was sold to states as a replacement for the much-maligned No Child Left Behind program enacted by the George W. Bush administration. States that adopted Common Core were given waivers from many NCLB standards. The pot was sweetened by billions of dollars in stimulus money promised to states, with adoption of Common Core being a factor. Just five states — Alaska, Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas and Virginia — do not yet participate.

    But a backlash is developing as parents learn about the program and educational experts decry the watering down of standards and ”empty promises” of Common Core. Some states have listened — Indiana Republican Gov. Mike Pence signed legislation last spring (2013) to “slow down” the adoption of Common Core until more research and input could be obtained — but others are moving full speed ahead and even arresting parents who question the motives of the state in blindly following.

    Even parents who think they can avoid Common Core by sending their children to private school or homeschooling them may find an issue, as the ACT, SAT and even the GED high school equivalency exam are in the process of aligning their tests with the Common Core curriculum.

    Although there are many reasons to oppose this dangerous legislation, the greatest areas of impact will be:
    The costs to each district to implement the program
    The lack of privacy for the students’ information as well as the student’s families’ information
    The lack of rigor, or the ‘dumbing down’ of material, in order to create less of a gap between the highest achieving and the lowest achieving within the student body

    There are some very important questions regarding Common Core State Standards (CCSS)
    1. The Standards are described as rigorous and internationally bench marked. What data can the board cite that
    proves this claim?
    2. CCSS has been described as “State led”. Who actually wrote the standards? Who from our State provided the
    3. What cost analysis was done when our State signed on to the Standards? What will this cost?
    4. What effect will the new standards have on taxes?
    5. How do the change in FERPA (family Educational Rights and Education privacy Act) , as of January 2012, affect
    student privacy? What changes were made?
    6. How much local control will the parents, educators and school board have after the standards go into effect?
    7. What group, team, board and/or legislative body, reviewed the standards before they were adopted by our
    8. On what date were the Standards and Assessments finalized and on what date did our State agree to accept/opt
    in to CCSS?
    9. How does this affect private, parochial and home school students?
    10. Can our local school district be allowed to opt out? What options do we have?

    I request that you OPPOSE Common Core and vote to END it’s impact to New Jersey.