Common core is not the answer

Brooke Boznango

@missboznango

It has become a recent trend to “sue the president.” Republicans specifically have tried to sue the president, accusing him of nefarious acts against the people of The United States of America.

In all honesty, I don’t pay much attention to politics in everyday life. While I believe that it is an important American duty to know what is happening in the government, the day-to-day arguing is not as vital as the issues themselves.

However, a supposedly recent lawsuit filed against the Obama administration has captured my attention because of the subject matter of the suit: Common Core.

Governor Bobby Jindal, a republican from Louisiana, filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration, claiming the federal government has been illegally manipulating the $4.3 billion in grant money to force states to adopt the new Common Core standards.

Additionally, according to the lawsuit, this illegal manipulation to force states into Common Core is a violation of the Constitution as well as federal laws against government control of state educational systems. States have the right to control educational content, according to the state sovereignty clause of the Constitution, and Jindal claims it is being violated by the Obama administration.

This lawsuit obviously affects my future profession because I am an education major. However, it does not just affect teachers, but parents and students as well. Common Core standards will change not only the content but also the way students learn in the future, which is something parents should be aware of in the coming years.

Because Common Core can be interpreted in several ways that illicit a variety of opinions, I will not go into detail about what Common Core is from my point of view. Rather, I will give a very brief overview of Common Core.

Common Core standards are part of the Race to the Top grant program. States who applied for the grant were encouraged to embrace the Common Core standards when they received the federal funds.

To keep up with the test scores of students in rival countries, such as Japan and China, Common Core puts more emphasis on reaching math and English benchmarks at the end of each grade. For example, all students finishing the fifth grade should be able to read and do math problems at a fifth grade level as determined by the Obama administration.

A majority of states have accepted Common Core and have begun to integrate the standards into educational curriculums. It is a slow moving process, and many schools are struggling to keep up while others are thriving.

However, just because some schools appear to be thriving, the system is far from perfect. Take, for example, students with a disability. These students may not reach the benchmarks for the grade they are in.

Let’s say that a fifth grade boy has dyslexia, a learning disability that causes problems with reading. When he reads, he has difficulties with the words jumping around the page as well as with understanding the content of the story. This may put him at a third grade reading level.

Obviously, this student would not reach the fifth grade benchmark. He may have the best teachers in the world and be working as hard as he can to improve, but there is no guarantee he will reach the fifth grade reading level.

According to Common Core, this student is not performing at his best. However, as a teacher, I know how incredibly untrue this statement is. It is important for teachers, parents and students to understand that each student’s learning level is individual to them and comparing performance levels based on benchmarks leads to nothing but frustration and defeat.

Students with disabilities are not the only ones who will suffer under the benchmarks of Common Core. With such a high priority set on testing, students are not adequately prepared to choose a future career or even preform basic adult tasks, such as balancing a check book, unless taught by their family members outside of school.

Schools need to better prepare students to choose a career/major after high school. In a job market that demands a degree of some sort, college is necessary after high school unless the student has received job training during high school, such as at a vocational school.

While our students are adequately prepared for college classes, I am unsure if they are prepared to decide what profession they want to spend the rest of their lives doing. Whether Common Core is to blame or not, is for you to decide.

Suing the Obama administration may be ridiculous, but the intentions behind it are good. The opinions may be different, but the reasons are the same: we need to provide the best education possible for our students to prepare them for their futures.

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