Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Classroom chaos? Critics blast new Common Core education standards http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/09/03/critics-claim-common-core-brings-chaos-not-acountability-to-classroom/
FoxNews.com – Diane Diederich - 9/3/2013

A full year before students around the nation submit to the new Common Core standardized tests, the federally-backed program is already causing chaos and confusion at local school board meetings, in the classroom and at the dinner table.

As critics fear Washington is poised to take control of what and how local districts teach kids, school administrators are adopting new curriculum in an effort to ensure their students outperform their peers and parents worry that their children are being used as academic guinea pigs. As the program gets closer to full implementation, a full-blown backlash is developing despite assurances from supporters that it is merely a test aimed at establishing a national standard.

‘What is this, and why is it being forced on us?’” said the Cato Institute’s Neil McCluskey.

When 90 percent of states signed on to subject K-12 students to the Common Core math and English standards being pushed by the federal government, the program looked like an unqualified success. Kids around the nation would be tested once a year in grades 3-8 in math and English language arts, and once in high school, either in the 10th or 11th grades. Finally, students throughout the country could be measured by the same yardstick, long before taking college entrance exams. Local districts that excelled at educating children could be singled out, and ones who lagged could also be identified in order to address problems.

But if what happened in New York and Kentucky, two of the 45 states that have signed on to the Common Core State Standards Initiative, is any indication, the chaos has only just begun. Those states administered their own standardized tests aligned with Common Core, and the results were disastrous. Just 31 percent of New York students in the third through eighth grades were deemed proficient in math and English on the new tests, down about 50 percent from the traditional test given the year before. Kentucky, which also implemented its own Common Core-aligned tests, experienced similar declines in scores.

. . .  kids who had always done well in math were left disillusioned with the subject.
Five parents filed a complaint with the state over use of the new Algebra 1 book, and, after a protracted battle, forced the district to establish an "instructional online interactive forum" for Algebra 1 students and adopt new regulations for pilot programs as part of a settlement on the controversy over use of a textbook. Crisp said she worries about some 800 students who spent a year studying from a textbook hastily adopted in the frenzy to align with Common Core. THE DISTRICT LATER DISAVOWED THE BOOK.

“Common Core is forcing districts to re-think math curriculum,” Crisp said. “And in cases like ours, they are making poor decisions.”

In McCluskey’s words, “standards are designed to set a box around curriculum,” meaning whatever is on the test will have to be taught.

Phyllis Schlafly of The Eagle Forum goes even further.  “Common Core means federal control of school curriculum, i.e., control by Obama administration left-wing bureaucrats,” wrote Schlafly. “The control mechanism is the tests (called assessments). Kids must pass the tests in order to get a high school diploma or admittance to college. If they haven’t studied a curriculum based on Common Core standards, they won’t score well on the tests.”

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