When will the United States government learn that a “one size fits all” education system is not the way to improve our global ranking?
Granted, “one size fits all” education systems can be found in countries that rank above the United States, such as Singapore and Finland. However, it can also be found in countries ranked lower than the United States, such as Costa Rica, Greece, Italy, and Pakistan, to name a few. Clearly, the problem lies not in a lack of “one size fits all standards” but rather in lurking variables which cannot be measured by a student’s score on the SBAC.
The Common Core State Standards are the latest futile attempt by the federal government to improve our education system and, as a result, our global ranking, which falls at an embarrassing 14 as of 2015. Common Core is unlike any education system in the world — and not in a good way. It was implemented without the evaluation of education specialists, teachers, and parents. But hey, Bill Gates gave it a thumbs up (and lots of funding), so why not?
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.
There is no way the Common Core State Standards will improve American education. It is a “system” created without the input of a single educator or parent that is heavily reliant on standardized testing to measure success. The intention to better equip us for college and beyond has backfired, as Common Core has left students clueless. Students are being taught that 77 - 3 = 74 is not a reasonable answer because 77 should’ve been rounded to 80 and 3 should’ve been rounded to 0. It is a completely preposterous progressive experiment that has done nothing but harm the way K - 12 students are being taught.
Everyone who hopes to improve America’s global ranking from 14 to 1 needs to call for the repealing of the Common Core State Standards and the end of “one size fits all” education standards.
by Karina Lopez