The Issue with Common Core Education

"See, that's the problem with common core: it's not that common."

Faith Tacey, Staff Writer

The phrase “common core” has become prominent in America’s education system in the 21st century. Teachers and students are expected to teach and learn along the lines of common core standards, while failure to do so results in consequences. So what exactly is common core? Common core is a set of uniform standards of what a student should know and be able to do by the end of each grade. Common core is a part of the American education system, but it takes away students’ rights to explore and be creative while learning. Common core is an issue because it is a broad way of learning that can be robotic and bland. Students should go to school and be encouraged to embrace creativity and find different ways to make their education stick.

A number of things add up to make common core an issue in schools. With common core comes more standardized testing, more pressure on students and teachers, and a more inferior way of solving problems. Students are expected to solve problems one way and one way only. This takes away the students ability to explore ways to make them understand what they’re learning rather than just memorize. Students are given a certain way to do a math problem, for example, and can only use a number line to solve said problem. If you have ever taken a math class, then you know there are multiple ways to solve problems. If a student wants to use manipulative or counters they should be allowed to, especially if that’s what allows them to grasp the concept better. But instead, when it comes to the test, the problem may require the student to do it one way. So whatever approach they are comfortable with is wrong if it isn’t what they are asked to do. This is the problem with standardized tests. They don’t test the students’ knowledge of a subject. Instead they test the student’s ability to solve a problem using the certain way taught. So a child who uses a “two-step” way of solving the problem is wrong if they don’t use the required 12 step way even if they got the same answer. If a teacher’s class doesn’t receive good tests scores, they are at risk for losing their jobs. And if a student doesn’t meet the standards of common core they are considered “not ready for college or a career”.

Teachers and students are the people most affected by the issue of common core learning standards and tests. But this also affects the future of our country. If the students aren’t being allowed to explore different methods of learning, they are learning how to be robotic. They aren’t being educated, they are being trained. Trained to do jobs rather than careers. Where does that leave our country? Common core defines students as a uniform group rather than as individuals. They have no freedom to use their own methods of understanding. How does this better a child’s education? Learning should be defined as a way for children to explore the world around them and how it works. They should have loose guidelines and creativity should be embraced. It also affects the society we live in. Americans have a strong sense of pride and common core is a socialist way of learning. It imposes a way of learning that is not unique and is very demanding of uniformity, thus defining it as an issue even further.

School systems are affected deeply by common core, receiving hate mail from parents who believe their students are being “programmed rather than educated”. Parents can no longer teach their children at home because the common core way asks for a specific way to solve problems. If a student doesn’t do exactly what common core is looking for, they are “wrong and not smart” making students less confident and a more negative view of school. because of this, there has been an increase in students with behavioral issues. Children who are classified into the group of not meeting the standard are less focused in school. These children have to go to remedial classes and or separate classes to catch up with the common core standards.

In order to fix the issues of common core education, the definition of the standards have to be changed. The evaluation of “college and career ready” should be changed to fit more loosely. Children who learn differently need to have those opportunities to do so in order to be successful, so they can fit into standards. The standards of common core education should be able to fit most children and allow those below the line, to catch up. If common core won’t be diminished completely, its defined standards need to be changed.