PART III: An Answer to the Question: Good? or Bad?
In the past year significant political forces have targeted Common Core. The protests have been at near hysterical levels in many communities around the country. The complaints about Common Core are as follows:
- Standards create a factory-like environment that attempt to put all students in one ‘box.’
- Teachers focusing on test scores, not educational achievement
- Parents don’t understand math methods
- United States history under Common Core is un-American because it includes both positive and negative aspects of the history of our country
- A belief that parents should define school curriculum, not the school, district, state, or federal government
- A belief that President Obama is behind the implementation of Common Core and other conservative conspiracy theories
Many of the issues have been generated by conservative voices after a push by Republicans during the past election cycle to ignite anger and votes against public education. Almost all of the complaints would have occurred from any attempt to improve and refine American educational techniques, especially when those improvements involve standardization for all American schools.
If you believe that setting minimum standards in reading, writing, and math is bad, then Common Core is bad. If you believe that children in your community should graduate with similar skills to other students around the country, then Common Core is good. If you believe that a high school degree should be the end of a person’s education, then Common Core is bad. If you believe that every student should receive an education that would prepare them for college, then Common Core is good.
THE REAL PROBLEM
Despite the politicizing of Common Core, there is a real issue in implementing any change in education. Funding.
Any business that seeks to upgrade or improve their methods knows that there is a real cost to any change. Yet, even smart business people seem to forget that to improve our educational system requires a major funding commitment. It takes money to research and establish new programs. It takes money to train school districts, principals, and teachers. It takes money to create new teaching materials, and it takes money to educate parents.
What Common Core is missing is the funding needed to make it a success. Until we can accept the fact that a commitment to education requires a commitment to funding, then we will continue using 20th educational techniques in a 21st century world. America’s efforts to update our educational system will cost money and Common Core is a victim of a society that has abandon quality education because it costs too much.
THE HYSTERIA OF THE LOUDEST VOICES
Unfortunately, Common Core lost a lot of support in the past twelve months. Much of that was due to the political rhetoric during last year’s campaigns, but some teachers are also pulling back support. This is not surprising. As parents become more vocal in opposition, few teachers are willing to oppose parent sentiment even if they are wrong.
Common Core is not a perfect educational system, but it does attempt to better prepare America’s children for a higher level of achievement. Most of the real issues can be resolved with better funding. Just as a school built in the 1950’s is no longer relevant for 2015, education methods of the pre-information era are not relevant today. Our population is continuing to increase and the skills our children must have to thrive as adults are going to advance. Education is going to be expensive, but if we don’t pay now, we will pay more later.