Is Common Core Good for Students?
By Vaneza M.
The Common Core curriculum can be seen as the best way of learning…or the worst. But, let’s face the facts – Common Core isn’t good for students. It homogenizes their education, focuses too much on skills, and teaches to the test.
Common Core made students’ learning uniformed when students’ education should be personalized, so that students can understand lessons in the ways that they need to as individuals. According to Thomas Armstrong, the Executive Director of the American Institute for Learning and Human Development, in his article entitled “12 Reasons That Common Core is Bad for America’s Schools”, he wrote, “The Common Core is all about foolish consistency and runs a super-freeway through all the little hills and dales of student individuality.” By this, he means that Common Core’s approach to learning is “one-size-fits-all.” They teach every kid the exact same way, which is bad for students that need extra help or more of a challenge. Thomas also says (in the same article), “Any educator worth her salt knows that students learn in different ways and that education needs to fit the needs of the student, not the reverse.”
Common Core focuses too much on the skills of a lesson and not enough on actual content in the lesson. Many teachers skim over skills that are necessary, or they don’t even teach it to “save time.” This can be detrimental to students when they are taking standardized tests or later on in life. One fourth-grade Common Core reading standard (Fourth-grade Reading Standard 5) asks kids to “explain major differences between poems, drama, and prose and refer to structural elements in poems (e.g., verse, rhythm, meter) and drama (e.g., character).” How are young kids expected to understand such creative and complex poems of Shakespeare, Edgar Allen Poe, and other amazing writers if they are not taught to learn in an open-ended way?
Common Core teaches students what they need to know on the state tests–nothing less, nothing more. “Teaching to the test” is bad for children’s education. It drills in ways to solve test questions using a “one right way” method in their mind and doesn’t give them a chance to master a particular skill or to solve those problems in any other way. It also misrepresents to everyone how much the student has actually learned about the topic. In a popular study by Jerald Craig, it was found that in an area that relied heavily on teaching to the test, 83 percent of students selected the correct answer to a multiple-choice item written as “87 – 24 =.” However, only 66 percent of students could provide the correct answer to the open-ended problem, “Subtract 24 from 87”.
Common Core is bad for students because it teaches to the test, standardizes their learning, and focuses too much on skills. It is our responsibility as Americans to have a say in the curriculum for our students because they are the future of the world, not the test scores.