Don’t ignore this beast… even though it might seem easier to stick your head in the sand!
You can’t afford to be uninformed, because this is bound to affect your children and your children’s children.
And there are many reasons to loathe this Common Core that the government is so heavily promoting.
Want Your Children to Be Guinea Pigs?
First of all, this is a massive experiment using our children as guinea pigs. And, I might add, it puts the future of our country at stake. States, politicians, and parents would be wise to reconsider their involvement in the Common Core movement.
Its proponents insist it’s the only way to address the problem of lagging achievement in U.S. schools. But Common Core standards still fall far short. And this is the capstone of 40 years of “reforms” that didn’t work as planned. What makes anyone think this is going to be the goose that laid the golden egg?
The last reform dud was No Child Left Behind, or NCLB. It was a quagmire of required paperwork that took teachers away from their teaching responsibilities to fulfill fruitless mandates.
Worse, it penalized “bad” schools, so every school and teacher taught to the test. If you wanted your classroom to be a poster child for NCLB, you couldn’t let the children explore ponds or spiders or snakes. Or much of anything else, for that matter. You had to keep prodding them forward to cover everything that would be on the test, like so many cattle forced to slaughter at a factory farm.
Learning for learning’s sake (and for the sake of discovering the world God created for us) is far different from learning so you can pass a test.
Every homeschooler I know promotes learning. Yet most would reject the idea of teaching to a test – especially in the early years. Speaking of which, did you know that Head Start now tests 4-year-olds? Maybe we should just ditch Head Start, instead of subjecting 4-year-olds to the pressures of testing merely to justify the staggering tax dollars being spent…
And that’s just the beginning…
Hidden Agenda: To Dumb People Down?
Twenty-two years ago, John Gatto published a stinging criticism of compulsory education in his book Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling.
After 30 years as a New York City public school teacher, he said he’d come to the “sad conclusion that compulsory schooling does little but teach young people to follow orders like cogs in an industrial machine.”
Unfortunately, 22 years later, we’re staring at a Common Core that takes us even farther down that slippery slope.
At the heart of the Common Core is the “great mission” of detailing the bare minimum amount of learning that high school grads need to be able to get an entry-level job, or to qualify for a nondescript community college without being forced to take remedial classes.
Folks, that’s such a ridiculously low standard that we should all be embarrassed we’re even having this discussion in America.
Our Founding Fathers were adamant that everyone be a proficient reader by the age of eight, so that they could read the Scriptures for themselves. (Note: that was the King James Version.)
How far we have fallen!
One of Common Core’s Most Blatant Flaws
One of Common Core’s most glaring deficiencies is the way it teaches math.
Judging from sample questions, Common Core tries to reinvent the wheel concerning how math is taught.
It abandons teaching students basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division math facts. And instead focuses entirely on conceptual teaching.
At first, that might sound like great news. After all, we need scientists and engineers who can help us compete in the 21st century. But not so fast…
Children are not capable of conceptual ideas until at least age 10 to 12. Trying to teach “deep concepts” to first or second graders leads only to confusion and distress, followed by the belief that they’re too stupid to learn. That’s nothing short of educational malpractice.
Nor are children capable of understanding conceptual ideas without the proper framework of so-called cold hard facts. Which is why we should never quit teaching children basic arithmetic facts.
When even parents with Engineering degrees can’t figure out a simple 2nd grade Common Core math problem the way the Common Core wants it done, it should be obvious we have a major problem.
427-316. How hard is that? The answer takes three simple steps, and is, of course, 111.
You may have seen the father’s response (above). It went viral on the Internet earlier this year. He questions the purpose of over-complicating simple math problems.
Glenn Beck had the father on his show. His conclusion?
There’s absolutely no logic behind the reasoning used in the Common Core.
Beck points out that if parents no longer understand how to help their children with homework, it devalues their importance.
“I think this is to discredit … parents and the old ways,” he concluded.
Just Like the “New Math” Debacle of the 1960s…
Remarkably, this isn’t the first time the government has tried to redesign math education.
I was a victim of their 1960s attempt at a very similar curriculum, dubbed “New Math.”
I didn’t mind math at all till they rolled out “New Math” when I was in 5th grade. In a few short months, I went from being fine with math to absolutely despising it. (And I spent my entire adult life trying to make sure my children did not grow up hating it – which was challenging after suffering through this ridiculous teaching method.)
New Math was built around the application of Set Theory and used non-standard numeral systems in an attempt to instill conceptual understanding.
Indeed, New Math failed miserably, and was abandoned within a few years. But not before millions of students became convinced that they were incredibly stupid when it came to math.
Why “New Math” Failed So Miserably
One reason for New Math’s dismal failure was that even the teachers didn’t understand it.
Another reason was its unnecessary complication of something that’s inherently fairly simple. The father in the above letter expressed it well when he wrote, “In the real world, simplification is valued over complication.”
Remember the phrase “Keep It Simple, Stupid?” Seems appropriate here.
One of New Math’s most stinging criticisms was delivered by legendary mathematician and singer Tom Lehrer, whose song “New Math” showcased the complete absurdity of the new method. See video below.
New Math failed…and so will Common Core math
The cause of low math scores is not a faulty teaching method, but teachers who care more about tenure, seniority, pay, and benefits than they do about helping students learn. It’s a faulty system that rewards schools and teachers when students are dumbed down.
One of the best ways to protect against this lack of learning is to continue what you’re already doing – homeschooling your children and taking charge of what (and how) they’re learning.
In addition to its over-complication of elementary math, there are also significant problems with how Common Core handles percentages, ratios, rates, and proportions – all of which are necessary prerequisites for more advanced topics like trigonometry, statistics, and calculus.
What’s more, Common Core’s approach to geometry doesn’t mesh with the way researchers know our brains learn. Nor is its approach to algebra any better. The Common Core only meets some of the traditional standards for algebra I and algebra II. Not all of them.
Just Another Excuse to Trample Our Rights?
The Common Core, while purporting to improve learning, is just another excuse to push everyone – including homeschoolers, if Common Core proponents have their way – into a curriculum dictated by the federal government.
This country was founded on freedom from government coercion. Common Core is a violation of both states’ rights and parental rights. As a homeschool parent, I know a whole lot more about what my child needs to learn than some bureaucrat in Washington D.C. does.
And your parental rights – whether you’re a homeschool or public school parent – were never considered when the Common Core was developed. Meetings were held in secret – no press or parents allowed. Isn’t that telling…?
And that’s not all…
Prepares Students for a Life of Servitude
There’s no preparation for anything beyond community college or an entry-level job in the Common Core – which means students won’t be entering universities with a reasonable expectation of being able to skip entry-level courses.
Just try to hire a recent high school grad for your business, and let me know how that works out for you. Most can’t even complete basic tasks, such as properly sorting items into piles.
One of the chief drafters of the Common Core’s math standards even admitted this.
In 2010, at a public meeting of the Massachusetts State Board of Education, Dr. Jason Zimba testified that the Common Core is designed to prepare students only for a non-selective community college, not a university.
This may be a major factor driving the significant increase in the number of homeschooled students over the past few years.
But I don’t believe homeschoolers will “get off” that easily, since the ACT, SAT, and other standardized tests are being rewritten to reflect Common Core’s “standards.”
Unfortunately, many private schools have also bought into the lie and are implementing Common Core standards. Be wary and ask a lot of questions if you are considering (now or in the future) enrolling your children in a private school.
We need to remain vigilant for the sake of our children and the future of our country.
Therefore, we’ll continue to update you about this critical topic in future issues of For Homeschool Moms Only.
Here’s the Tom Lehrer video referenced above – it’s spot on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
If you have friends or co-op members who you think would like to get our newsletter, please send us their email addresses. They’ll each get an invitation – which they have the option to decline – and we’ll never share any information with a third party. Or invite them to opt in at www.ForHomeschoolMomsOnly.com.