Common Core: A thirteen year old girl’s perspective

Peconic Pediatrics in Riverhead, NY - Children taking testThere has been a massive grassroots movement against Common Core of late. I am certainly not an expert on the educational system but I have a couple of objective observations that I'd like to share.

First of all, this past week during testing, many kids came to the office with headaches, stomach aches and other stress related symptoms.

Second of all, kids and teachers are enjoying school less. Teachers creativity in lesson planning is being restricted. This was obvious when I went to "meet the teacher night" for my own children this fall. The schedule of the day was completely regimented. It was a very different feel from years past. In fact my son's first grade teacher who my 13 year old daughter said had been her favorite teacher, told me that she has no time to do any of the fun things this year that she had done in years past. In addition, it seems reading selections are also dictated to the teachers. My ten year old is primarily reading non-fiction and is learning to dislike reading.

In the midst of this week of testing, my 13 year old daughter decided to write a letter to the powers that be in hopes of being heard. Here is an excerpt from that letter.

"I am disappointed. Before Common Core, the classroom was a place where I looked forward to going because I enjoyed learning. My teachers would always create fun and exciting ways to pick up lessons. We could play all kinds of games that would end up teaching us a new topic, or reviewing an old one.

With Common Core, teachers don't have the freedom to decide how to teach a lesson and they don't have time to teach it in a fun way. They are strictly teaching it for the endless tests that Common Core makes its students take.

All the work and tests Common Core is forcing us to take is only hurting us. It's making it less likely for us students to enjoy school and learning which in the end could really influence our futures and the career which we end up being a part of."

Again, I do not proclaim to be an expert but I see the effect the shift in curriculum has had on my children and my patients.

6 Responses

  1. I totally agree with you. I'm watching my daughter, who is a teacher stressing out and being very sad at what this is doing to her students and her own children. My grandson who is a bright and intelligent boy come home from school one day saying he is stupid. I don't think this is the objective of education. I think as educators they are there to teach and build the child's self confidence. Teaching material that is not age appropriate is setting them up for failure, not what we should be signed on for.
  2. Thankyou for sharing your insights! I plan to share this with our school board as a few of us parents have gone before them repeatedly sharing our first hand experiences of the changes we see in our children at home as a result of the pressure of the standards and the assessments that have been tied to them as well as the teachers' evaluations. I have given our board many samples of the developmentally inappropriate assignments and have sent in letters refusing (opting out) my children's participation in the state assessments. It is one powerful way parents can send the message to our elected leaders we will NOT tolerate the abuse and experimentation that has wreaked havoc in many classrooms and homes. Parents we have the power to stand up and say Enough!!
  3. Thank you so much Dr. Shaer!!! I chose to refuse for my son Jamie, who is now in 5th grade. I'm so glad I made that choice for his mental and physical health!
  4. Thank you Dr. Shaer, and thank you for speaking up for our kids!
  5. I agree with you. My experience with my daughter, who was caught up in the high stakes testing frenzy, quickly taught me that the testing was actually impeding her ability to learn to think critically, which I believe is fundamental to the education of a child. I was forced to develop strategies to compensate for what was not happening in the class room.
  6. Just yesterday I had a conversation with my 11 year old. It started with my asking if she had any homework over Spring break or any project. 'Project?' she replied and then said, "no we haven't done anything crafty in a long time, except maybe a bookmark before winter break." I went on to describe all of the projects we did in school when I was a kid; I remember them all and it's was the most effective learning I ever had; things like diaramas, posters, making model cells or solar systems. Just hunting for pictures in magazines was a fun assignment. My heart broke when my daughter said, "No, we don't do any of those things."

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