Problems with the Common Core

1) The Common Core was not developed by teachers. It needs to reflect what the students can and should know, not just what is measurable and testable.
2) It assumes that there is a floor to which every non-disabled student can achieve, i.e. critical thinking and analysis. There is a Bell Curve, there always will be a bell curve and it is affected by SO many things that are outside of the purview of schools. Did the kid come into school reading? Were they read to as children? Is there a culture of reading in the home? Is there support for homework?
3) It assumes that every student should be prepared to enter a career in the natural sciences or engineering when they graduate high school. This is neither necessary or desirable. Why is it more important to understand f(x) = 1/X  than to understand why an interest only mortgage, rent-to-buy, and a 0% deferred interest credit card are bad for you? If we had real education in financial math, maybe fewer people would be having their homes foreclosed. Instead, we have millions of kids having to balance chem equations and learning about trig functions, skills and concepts that they never, ever will need to know.
4) Teachers don’t teach to the Common Core and not evaluated on how they teach to the Common Core, they teach to the PARCC, a test developed without teacher input and one that fails every basic test of reliability and validity. It has not been field tested. It has not been evaluated by the teaching community as to whether this is what students should be learning. It has not been evaluated for developmental appropriateness. It is a product of billionaires, profit making test companies and clueless college professors who have never taught in the classroom putting this thing together.

5)  Lastly, the Common Core and PARCC are really a re-hash of NCLB without a questioning the basic assumptions of each. There is an assumption in each that there can be federal control of education, when every study says that good schools are ones with good principals and teachers, There is an assumption that what is measurable is important and what is important is measurable, there is an assumption that formative assessments like the AP are not possible to create and use, there is an assumption that there is something wrong with having a graduation test of skills and a higher diploma that confirms stronger analytical skills and content understanding.

Author: Scott White

I am a nationally recognized expert on college admissions, having worked in schools and colleges for 35 years. I have been regularly quoted in major publications including the NY Times, the LA Times, The Boston Globe, the Washington Post, Atlantic Monthly, Time Magazine and others. I am widely published on various aspects of the college admissions process and present at state and national conferences on a variety of college admissions related topics. I have worked in college admissions as well as independent day and boarding schools. The last 25 years I have worked in public schools, 14 as a school counselor and then as a Director of Guidance at elite, suburban public schools including Montclair High School, Westfield High School and Morristown High School. I am now an independent college counselor for SW College Consulting in Montclair. I can be contacted as or 973-919-6798.

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