My Response to Rapid City Journal Forum

Over the weekend, the Rapid City Journal posted an opinion piece about Common Core. I have commented on their website, but as usual, they have refused to let my response to their article appear. Here is my response to Forum: We Need to Give Common Core Math a Chance to Succeed.

When did education in America become about training for a workforce? Isn’t America about opportunity? The elite schools in the country, such as Sidwell Friends, the school the Obama girls attend, are not adopting the Common Core. Why? If you read their Long Range Priorities, on page 4, “…students will be well-prepared to thrive as leaders upon their graduation from Sidwell Friends…”   Why would we, the people, want anything less for our children?  From the Sioux Falls School District website, “In order to be an engaged member of the community and a contributing member of the workforce, students must know …”  You can read about how Sioux Falls Schools are leading the way into the Common Core here. Where is the entrepreneurship? What happened to teaching children that this is America, and you can be anything you want to be, not just a member of the workforce? Why would the State Board of Education and our Governor choose standards and assessments that lead to curricula, that are designed to align our children to a global managed workforce? The difference between elite private schools and the rest of us, sounds like the Common Core is being used to create worker bees for the elite queen bees.
When did math become a concept? You used the word “concept” four times when referring to math. While I’m not a math whiz, by any stretch of the imagination, I have always liked that math is facts. Facts don’t change. Three times four has always been twelve. At least until the Common Core. You argued that the skills need to be applied. What skills? Children are being taught “concepts” not traditional algorithms or skills. You can learn more about that here
Where is the evidence that the Common Core Standards, the assessments – or the curricula aligned to the Common Core, will give our children a better education? Even Common Core supporters know it is a hypothesis

You referred to the Common Core Assessments as tests. A test tests knowledge. Dr. Schopp, SD Secretary of Education in an Argus Leader interview, But according to Schopp, comparing student performance on the Smarter Balanced assessments to traditional testing isn’t fair. “This is a different assessment,” Schopp said. “The scores are not alike. They’re going to look much different.”  

Every parent needs to ask, 

  • Why are we no longer testing for knowledge? 
  • What is an assessment? 
  • What is the Smarter Balanced assessment assessing?

One of the great things about America, is that education is locally controlled. Local districts can decide what they want for their children and what works best for them. If you live in a district that is not meeting the needs of your child, you could move to a district, or in South Dakota, open enroll to a district that meets the requirements you, as the parent, have for your child’s education. Common Core creates the status quo and a de facto national education system. 

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