This is part 4 of 5 regarding the popular editorial post Top Ten Things Parents Hate About the Common Core by Amy Pullman. I am providing opposing arguments and rationality in defense of the Common Core. I do not believe the new standards or their implementation have been anywhere near perfect, but we need to have legitimate debate if we’re going to improve them.
7. Distancing Parents and Children.
This argument seems to have wandered over from a similar article entitled Top Ten Things the Common Core Hates About Parents. Pullman’s argument here is basically that parents are resisting the change, and it is making everyone more cynical. Yes, parents need to be an integral part in a child’s education. Yes, schools should be encouraging parent participation. Yes, getting in the way causes problems for everyone. But no, doing away with the CCSS will not fix this problem. Pullman cites a study that found that parents are less involved and more cynical in states with more high-stakes testing. We have already discussed that this high stakes testing is probably not the best method for education, but Pullman’s extrapolation of this claim to the CCSS is unfounded. This important caveat is from the researcher who conducted the study: “My analysis predates the implementation of Common Core, so some caution in applying my conclusions is warranted” (Sides, 2014). We should not jump to conclusions about the effects of the CCSS before they have even had a chance to work. Most states are still in the process of getting the standards implemented, and there are a lot of things that still need fixing in the assessments.
I believe in creating systems that encourage participation and support, but parents have a responsibility here. That responsibility is not to whine and complain that things are changing in order to revert to a broken system. That responsibility is to support and guide our children through this transition. The government is not out to get you or to steal your child’s brain. A group of concerned experts, educators, and legislators came together to create what they believed to be the first step in improving American public education. The government had to step in because parents are shirking their responsibilities by refusing even to try to work with necessary changes.
8. Making Little Kids Cry.
Pullman gives two anecdotes of children crying in frustration over their homework, even going for the heartstrings with a little cancer survivor trying her damnedest to conquer this piece of paper. I’m not sure I should even dignify this with a response, but I will. First off, let’s not pretend that kids crying in frustration during the struggle to comprehend a concept is something new. It’s not. Secondly, if there is any increase in this tragedy, it is due to teachers being unable to effectively communicate information to students and parents being unwilling or unable to help their child at home. This is a product of parents and teachers lacking effective skills and their needing to learn new methods. We have already established that change is necessary. I never said it would be easy. The new math that has found its way into CCSS-based curricula is very different from what teachers are used to. It is going to take time for the teachers both to understand the new methods and to discover ways to teach those methods effectively. Common Core or no, kids are going to cry over homework. We, as parents and educators, take the responsibility of supporting our children through the learning process, not complaining because it’s too hard.
to be continued…
Sides, John. “Is School Testing Driving Parents Away from Their Child’s School?” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 7 Aug. 2014. Web. 16 Jan. 2015. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2014/08/07/is-school-testing-driving-parents-away-from-their-childs-school/>.