Common Core Lacks Common Sense

As a student at the age of 16, almost completing my public school career, I have witnessed how education has changed in our society and how it’s had a detrimental effect on both the well-being and knowledge of students across the nation. I have seen first hand how frustrated little children get when they are unable to solve a long division math problem or struggling to analyze and summarize chapter books when volunteering at the local elementary schools.

The problem is not the students, no, but instead it comes out of a little thing called the common core. “Improved critical thinking and communication skills or more progressive, student centered teaching? Who could be against collaborative thinking and reflective learning or being ‘college and career ready’?” is what the common core preached, but when it comes down to it, it is merely a fresh coat of paint to cover the reality of what it is doing to the youth of America.

One of the biggest arguments against common core is that it drains the creativity out of children. “Why should I be doing the same frickin’ thing since I was in third grade?” Another student I heard about could comprehend the whole “Harry Potter” series before she was 11 and read two novels a week, yet thinks she “sucks at English” because she is more nuanced in her thinking than the questions on standardized tests allow. She learned to hate reading.”(Greene).

Common core forces concepts upon students and their thinking is restricted to only understanding what their teachers spew at them. Even great teachers who encourage their children to have fun while learning and to let their imagination run free are being replaced by “new and cheap workers more willing to follow foolproof, factory-like, prescription lesson plans.” Students and teachers alike feel like they are being forced to read out of a cookbook, follow each step, using the correct amount of ingredients with precision or else the final product will become a failure. But isn’t that the point of making mistakes? To learn? In a plan where there is supposed to be no flaws in the system, where does it leave room for improvement?

As a student who went through the traditional style of learning, there were many hardships and difficulties I had to face, but that only encouraged me to work harder and show my best work. There is evidence that directly supports the fact that common core whittles away any drive for learning that students have inside of them. A little girl who loved to read, thinking she’s stupid for not being up to par in the common core standards and stripping away the enjoyment she found in reading, seeing it as a task she has to complete instead of a pleasant hobby.

Supporters of the common core argue that this system has actually been beneficial to students showing improvements in their SAT and ACT scores. Scientists conducted an experiment with students in 8th grade taking the ACT and then the same students took the ACT two years later with the common core implemented. Although they only saw improvement by 1.5%, they still use this evidence to support the effectiveness of the common core (Bidwell).

While you cannot argue the fact that the students did improve, one cannot simply infer that it was the common core that helped students boost their scores. If supporters say the common core helped students because it improved after the system was taught, that is flawed logic. Just because students had 2 years of common core does not mean that was the sole cause. Students learn more material that is more relevant in the ACT as they advance in the school system, of course 8th graders are not going to understand concepts in neurobiology and quadratic formulas. Giving common core all the credit does is a general assumption; common core does not affect what they learn, only the standards that are forced upon them.

Supporters also argue that common core teaches students more in depth math concepts and “how and why math works” and “how to apply it”. (Boser). The problem with this is i’ve seen first hand that it is ineffective and time consuming. My brother who is in 4th grade is currently learning basic math and what a 4th grader should understand at their age, but almost everyday he comes home and asks for help because he’s confused in class and he does not understand the concept being taught to him. When we teach him the traditional method, he seems to get it right away and has no problem but the teacher always sends him back home saying he needs to learn through the “methods of the common core” which is ridiculous.

In our nation, college applications revolve around your performance on the SAT/ACT. Students not only have to know all math and English concepts but also time management in order to receive high marks. If thousands of students across the nation perform poorly on these standardized tests because they were too busy drawing and counting squares in order to complete a simple math equation, that could reflect poorly on our society and slow our progress as a nation. This only shows the inefficiency of the common core and what a waste of time it is to be teaching this to students when they don’t even understand the strange new methods being presented to them.

The repeated failures of the common core over the past 6 years has continued to show us that we need a new system in place, one that allows children to think creatively and one that will not dwindles a child’s motivation to learn and continue their education. Without an effective system to educate the future of America, it could lead us down a dull, dark path if we are not careful of our actions now. We are supposed to be the guiding light for these children, giving them the best chance they can get to improve not only their own lives but society as a whole in the future. If not, we will have much more devastating problems than the common core.

Bidwell, Aille. “Reports Show Small Gains after Common Core.” US News, US News & World Report, 25 Mar. 2015, Accessed 20 Mar. 2017.

Boser, Ulrich. “Parents, Go Back to Math Class.” US News, US News & World Report, 4 Nov. 2015, Accessed 20 Mar. 2017.

Greene, David. “The Long Death of Creative Teaching.” US News, US News & World Report, 17 Mar. 2014, Accessed 20 Mar. 2017.

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