We spend much of our time, when we discuss Common Core, coming from the adult perspective. We share facts as well as interpretations. Once in a while we come across a students perspective. Take a read…
A student gives her opinion on her Common Core education and testing. It’s not positive. From Student: Here’s What The Common Core Horror Show Looks Like At My High School:
In the time that Common Core was implemented until now, I have personally seen its overwhelmingly negative effects on public school education, particularly in the subject of Math. Common Core Math is supposed to prepare high school students for successful careers in the STEM field; it does the opposite. Instead, the main mind behind Common Core Math, Jason Zimba, admits the most it will do is prepare students for Math at a non-selective Community College.
Using the excuse of “that’s Common Core”, Math teachers at my school have stopped teaching. A good friend of mine reports that her Math teacher merely puts the notes on the board, then leaves students to “figure it out themselves” and refuses to answer any questions they ask her. Even so that is not the worst I have to report about these horrendous new “standards” — the worst comes at the elementary level. The other night I found myself unable to help my younger brother with his 5th grade level Math homework. The homework required the use of a complex estimation method I had never even heard of to divide three-digit numbers. What’s so wrong with good ol’ long division?
In addition to encouraging horrendous new methods of teaching, Common Core brings a massive increase in standardized testing. The Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium (SBAC), is the result of “Common Core Standards- aligned tests.” My junior year of high school, my class was used as “guinea pigs” to test out these new standardized tests. A week before the exam, my AP U.S. History teacher had to pause teaching us about actual United States History weeks before our AP Exam to teach us about ziplines. Yes, ziplines. Apparently, one of the Math portions of the SBAC was going to ask about ziplines, so we needed a basic understanding of how they worked. It was nothing but a waste of time and just goes to show the societal obsession with tests as a measurement of progress. An obsession which has done nothing but create a learning environment full of animosity, with students, particularly those in high school, facing spikes in levels of stress. At my school, about 300 out of 700 students chose to opt out of the SBAC. To be quite honest, I only took it because our school administration bribed us with an extra graduation ticket and a longer lunch.
I only wish the student had been one of the opt out students and had not accepted the bribe. When a history teacher stops teaching about history to instruct students on zip lines because zip lines are on the test, something is out of kilter. The video (below) may be illustrative of the instruction received in history class. If this is indicative of SBAC canned instruction, it’s no wonder students are disengaged:
Here’s a math teacher teaching zip lines for the SBAC test. She’s more interesting than the presenter above, but there are problems with this lesson. Is it bothersome to anyone that the teacher reads from the script? That’s the sign of death for interest in your audience. The students are not overly interested and within 5 minutes, the teacher takes students to task for their inattention and chatter. She tells the students she is doing this on her free time and ‘unfortunately, she didn’t design this lesson’ herself. Watch near the end @ 21:45 when she tells this class that another class had asked ‘why are we doing this’. It’s all for the test she explains: