I am FREAKING out!

Let’s talk Common Core. Do you like it? Do you hate it? Are you spending unreasonable amounts of time doing homework with your child like this mother? Are you indifferent? Do you see a benefit? Or are you in the same boat that I am in, and your child is yet in school, but you’re preparing (read: freaking the freak out)?

I am freaking out over Common Core because I have heard lots of opinions on it, and unanimously they are not great opinions. I have heard this from mothers, fathers, students, and teachers. So, naturally I am concerned. I’m concerned for Diapers’ wellbeing – mentally, emotionally, and intellectually. But I’m also concerned about our family’s wellbeing. I don’t want “afterschool and after work time” being a dreaded two hours of mulling through homework based on what “experts” (is anyone else annoyed that the site just continually says experts and doesn’t give us any specifics?? Give me some names for crying out loud! Give me some credentials!! I digress…) claim children need to know to be successful in college and career.

Yeah, that’s what they claim – they (you know the thems and the theys because god forbid we get real names and real qualifications) believe that the material being taught in K-12 and how it’s being taught will prepare the next generation for college. Really?! That’s why we have Common Core (or at least 44 states do)? I am calling bullshit and this is why –

I didn’t have Common Core standards and I successfully graduated college with a degree in Chemistry.

There take that Common Core! In your face!

Seriously though, college is selective. And I believe it should be, because you know what, college isn’t for everybody. It doesn’t mean that people aren’t capable of attending college and succeeding, but maybe they just don’t want to. Maybe they are content, and you know what – good for them! I’m okay with people who choose not to go to college. And that’s why we have the ACT, and the SAT – a metric (yes a standardized test of 4 main subjects covered in K-12) to allow selective entrance into college with those displaying the best mastery of grade school concepts. And the students who choose to study for this standardized test can do so by choice! They aren’t forced to adhere to a norm that I still can’t get clear on who the contributors were.

But why, oh why, are we setting K-12 standards on what some people believe are essential for success?! For decades now, our school system managed without Common Core. And decades before that our school system thrived without any standardize testing at all!! That’s right; teachers were actually held accountable to teach their students. Students’ successes were dependent upon the teacher doing their job but ALSO dependent upon the student doing their work. Damn, now why didn’t I think of that? A student’s success was measured by their grades alone. Now there’s a concept!  Maybe our school boards need to revisit what our school system looked like 50 years ago, and why it’s a complete and utter disaster now, and not be so concerned about funding these schools based upon standardized test scores.

I understand there needs to be some metric for what success looks like in school. And their needs to be metrics for what a successful teacher looks like as well – I’m all for this. But, you know what ya’ll? I do this little thing called an Individual Personal Performance Evaluation 3 times a year. Yep, I sit down with my manger, discuss goals for the year, sit down again half way through the year and discuss my progress so far through the year. Then I sit down one final time at the end of the year and discuss my overall performance and my goals. If I didn’t perform up to expectations, or the standards set by me and my manager (who by the way also does his own IPPE with is manager) at the beginning of the year, then I don’t get a good review. Now let’s apply this to school –

Students start school and get an idea of the topics, or standards, they will learn about – they are being held accountable to learn these topics, while teachers sit down with their managers and are held accountable to teach these topics.  Then half way through the year students take a mid-term and teachers get reviewed based upon lesson plans, and covering appropriate grade-level material. Then at the end of the year, students take a final exam, and teachers are evaluated once again on lesson plans covered through the year.  Then grades are given out based upon the student’s mastery of the topics, and teachers are assessed.

Holy Shit!

It’s like students are getting evaluated just like in careers!!

I am flabbergasted!

Sarcasm aside, if Common Core’s intent was to prepare students for a career then why are mid-terms, final exams, and grades not sufficient? My work performance is not based off of anyone else’s performance! It’s based off of mine alone. So I don’t want Diapers going through school thinking that all of life and career is based upon how well he did compared to the kid next to him, because it’s not. Life doesn’t work that way – you put work in, you get rewards. Like raises, bonuses, good grades, and maybe a special dinner for acing a test and being prepared.

So now that I know Diapers will be exposed to this moronic system of creating child-mind-robots (okay maaaybe that’s a little harsh), I am freaking out. Is he learning enough now at his age? Should I really consider formal preschool rather than the at-home based approach his nanny and I have discussed and I support? Does he need to be able to add 1 + 1? Does he need to count by 5’s or 10’s for Kindergarten? Will the social, political, and downright confusing language of Common Core math questions, trip up my kid and result in wrong answer?

And my biggest question is how do I support my child when the very wording and method in which Common Core is forcing teachers to teach simple concepts, physically makes my heart rate increase and blood pressure rise? How do I fight this battle, while still ensuring my child is prepared for success? How do I get behind a voluntary initiative, which most states have adopted since it guarantees funding for their schools, that is downright insane?

It’s an uphill battle for sure, and one I am prepared to fight.

What are your thoughts on Common Core?

What have your experiences been with Common Core methods?

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