I have a friend who I have been having some exchanges with regarding Common Core. He is a strong proponent and he told me that he has faith in CC because it establishes “standards” that are needed since students are subjected to standardized testing all the time.
I want to respond to that argument and explain why this educator disapproves of Common Core.
I’ve run that whole gambit from all sides. I had to take standardized tests for college and law school. My kids took them, too. I don’t have a problem at all for setting standards; I set them for my own college and high school students all the time.
I was right in the middle of my career when Florida started with the FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test). I hadn’t really been following it and only learned of it one way: When my students en masse started losing their ability to write properly. Especially paragraphing, it was like suddenly, instantly, everyone forgot how to paragraph, which I personally think is one the most important communications skill a person can develop.
And so I started asking around and students, fellow educators and I said, well, what changed? And there was no escaping connecting the dots.
Educational standards can be a beautiful thing. I mean John Quincy Adams attended lectures that were given solely in Latin — at age 14!! Oh yes, we have lost some very, very important standards.
And they are being replaced, in my opinion, inappropriately and by people with an agenda. That is where my political science degree and tons of experience in that field kick in, but I won’t go there now. I don’t think I need to.
When I took standardized tests, it was something that made you think. Clearly in the right subjects — math, geometry, logic, science, mass, space, etc. etc. Constants. Now, there is nothing wrong with learning about non-constants — philosophy, art, music. But they should not be mutually exclusive. Individuality needs to be expressed through all channels.
But the FCAT doesn’t teach students to think, it teaches them to learn how to test. And that suppresses free thought; they are told, “this is how you will test” and then they do it. No concepts, principles, no fundamental tools necessary to human creativity. And when they are taught how they will think? They will be taught to think alike because the creativity portion of intelligence has been diminished or erased because all they’ve learned to do is how to take a test.
Common Core – the key word here is “common.” In my opinion, just another step towards the ultimate goal of complete collectivism.