What’s Up with the Common Core? (by Susan M.)

Introduction

SusanpicI am sure that you have heard of common core, the new standards for education that are being so hotly debated. Like many of you I had NO clue what it was about. I decided to investigate it on my own and draw my own conclusions about the curriculum that was being taught to my daughter. I wanted to know exactly what common core was and why it is being viewed as a failure. As part of my research I volunteered in my daughter’s third grade classroom to see exactly how material was being instructed and to get information on the new curriculum from the best source possible; the teachers. I learned that many teachers agreed with the whole idea behind the new standards: the same benchmarks for each grade nationwide. The breakdown of the new curriculum unfortunately, was in the implementation: very little support or training was provided to educators and no common core aligned materials were created at the start of implementation. Through my research and my volunteer work I have learned that teachers need our support and help now more than ever.

I found the internet to be a great resource in providing information on what exactly common core is and why exactly the curriculum is being given such a cold reception. I read many periodicals to get a general idea of the opinion of the general public. I really enjoyed an article written by Jaime Fuller for the Washington Post, titled “ Common Core Might Be the Most Important Issue in the 2016 Republican Presidential Race.” Do not let the title of the article fool you, this article is very well researched and provides a lot of basic information on common core as a whole. This article is a good launching pad for research on common core.

Resources

Fuller, Jaime. “Common Core Might Be the Most Important Issue in the 2016…” Washington Post. 25 Jul. 2014: n.p. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 05 Mar. 2015.

This article is great! It discusses what common core is, the overall goal of the program, and the issues that it is facing. The article also provides a list of groups that are opposed to the implementation and why. On the other end of the spectrum, the supporters are also listed. The article also provides a lot of other articles for readers to look at, as well sites to explore so that they can formulate their own opinions.

The author of this article is not an authority on the topic, but he did do an excellent job of researching it. I really liked this article because it was well researched and provided a lot of information. It gives a good overview of the issues on both sides. I think that this is a good starting point for those who are not familiar with common core and the issues that have arisen due to its implementation. This article gives a great amount of information on common core as a whole and the issues it is facing, and as a result it connects to my research.

While doing my research I discovered that there is a lot of controversy on how the new curriculum came to be, and what role the government has played in implementing the new standards in so many states. It is always important to know the history behind a program, as well as anything else. I found that the academic article titled, “The Common Core; Far From Home,” written by Michael Toscano, provided a great history for the creation of common core

Toscano, Michael. “The Common Core: Far From Home.” Academic Questions 26.4 (2013): 411-428. Academic Search Premier. Web. 05 Mar. 2015.

This academic article provides a lot of great information on the government side of common core and the government’s hand in the implementation of the program. The paper discusses how it was introduced through Race to the Top. Also, it talks about the roll of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the creation of common core, and the influence they have had on associations and incorporations through monetary contributions that they have made.

I think that this article gives great insight into process behind the creation of common core. The author, Michael Toscano, is director of research projects at the National Association of Scholars, so I feel that he is a good authority on the topic material. This paper goes more in depth to how common core came about and its creation. This is a good read for those that are wondering about the starting place of the new curriculum. It provides information on the start of common core, and connects to my research because it gives information as to the history of the new curriculum.

After learning the about the basics of common core and its history I wanted know why common core is deemed such a failure in they eyes of so many. While I was researching I came a cross a great academic article written by James Rycik called “Support Continues to Erode for Common Core Standards and Assessments.” I found this article to be a great culmination of reasons and problems with common core as a whole.

Rycik, James. “Support Continues To Erode For Common Core Standards And Assessments.” American Secondary Education 42.3 (2014): 52-54. Academic Search Premier. Web. 05 Mar. 2015.

The article discusses the loss of support that common core is experiencing. It questions the reality of the standards and the assessment strategy that is currently in place. There are also other links in the article that can be accessed to provide more information on common core.

The author has great authority on the topic, as he is a professor of education and also the editor of American Secondary Education. He has over 20 years of experience as a teacher, and also has a PhD. This article connects to my research and discusses the failures of common core, form the lack of support to teachers, to its implementation

How to Get Involved

These articles are a great resource for information, but there is so much more out there. There are many areas of common core in which complications have arisen, lack of common core aligned materials, lack of support to teachers, testing prematurely, and common core in relation to students with learning disabilities. There is a long way to go before common core has reached its full potential. I urge you to do more research and find your own viewpoint on common core standards.

If you are against common core, and would like your voice to be heard, there are online petitions that you can sign:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/stop-common-core-in-oregon

http://stopcore.org

Schools and teachers ALWAYS need help. Volunteer in the classroom if you can, and if you can’t see if there is anything that you can do from home. The local PTO’s do a lot of great work in fundraising for activities and programs for the schools. You can make a donation or help out at events. Schools as we know are woefully underfunded, but as a community member you can help by collecting box tops and labels for education. Many stores also donate money to local schools, or a school of your choosing through loyalty cards, or store credit cards. See if the stores you frequent the most participate, and if they do sign up for the school your child attends, or the one in your neighborhood.

I received an email from my daughter’s school this week in reference to the proposed budget for 2015-2016. The academic budget has been reduced once again and is not sufficient enough to support the needs of the students, teachers, or support staff. The suggestion from the principal is to contact the legislators via email or phone. If you want to help and ensure that tomorrows future gets the education that they deserve, please make a call or send an email to the legislators listed below.

CALL! EMAIL! SPREAD THE WORD NOW!

Email or Phone Message:

Dear Senator ____________ or Representative _______________:

I am [writing] [calling] you today to ask you to keep fighting for adequate and stable K-­‐12 Education funding. With a growing economy, we need to re-­‐invest in Oregon’s education system. The proposed K-­‐12 Education Budget of $7.235 billion would mean reductions in teachers, programs and services across Oregon.

YOUR STORY . . .

In Beaverton, this level of funding would mean a loss of $90 per student or $4.1 million less than this year. A K-­‐12 Education Budget of $7.5 billion would provide fragile stability for our schools, but would allow us to maintain current programs and services and implement full-­‐day kindergarten. Bottom line, this level of funding does not move the needle on additional instructional time or help to increase graduation rates.

Don’t settle on the status quo for K-­‐12 Education Funding. You can help Oregon take some important steps by re-­‐investing in our children’s education. I urge you to keep all legislators talking about K-­‐12 Education. Our children’s future depends on it!

Thank you! Sincerely,
[name, phone, email]

Beaverton Area Legislators Contact Information

Senate District 14

Senator Mark Hass (D)

Chair, Ways & Means Committee

sen.markhass@state.or.us

State Capitol
900 Court St. NE S-­‐207 Salem, OR 97301

503-­‐986-­‐1714 (S)

Senate District 15

Senator Chuck Riley (D)

sen.chuckriley@state.or.us

State Capitol
900 Court St. NE, S-­‐303 Salem, OR 97301

503-­‐986-­‐1715 (S)

Senate District 17

Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward (D)

sen.elizabethsteinerhayward@state.or.us

State Capitol
900 Court St. NE, S-­‐215 Salem, OR 97301

503-­‐986-­‐1717 (S)

Senate District 18

Senator Ginny Burdick (D)

sen.ginnyburdick@state.or.us

State Capitol
900 Court St. NE, Suite S-­‐213 Salem, OR 97301

503-­‐986-­‐1718 (S)

House District 26 covers portion of Reedville/Aloha

Representative John Davis (R)

rep.johndavis@state.or.us

State Capitol
900 Court St. NE, Suite H-­‐483 Salem, OR 97301

503-­‐986-­‐1426 (S)

House District 27

Representative Tobias Read (D)

rep.tobiasread@state.or.us

State Capitol
900 Court St. NE, Suite H-­‐286 Salem, OR 97301

503-­‐986-­‐1427 (S)

House District 28

Representative Jeff Barker (D)

rep.jeffbarker@state.or.us

State Capitol
900 Court St. NE, Suite H-­‐480 Salem, OR 97301

503-­‐986-­‐1428 (S)

House District 30 covers Hillsboro small portion of BSD area

Representative Joe Gallegos (D)

rep.joegallegos@state.or.us

State Capitol
900 Court St. NE, Suite H-­‐492 Salem, OR 97301

503-­‐986-­‐1430 (S)

House District 31 covers small portion of N. Bethany & Portland

Representative Brad Witt (D)

rep.bradwitt@state.or.us

State Capitol
900 Court St. NE, Suite H-­‐374 Salem, OR 97301

503-­‐986-­‐1431 (S)

House District 33

Representative Mitch Greenlick (D)

rep.mitchgreenlick@state.or.us

State Capitol
900 Court St. NE, Suite H-­‐493 Salem, OR 97301

503-­‐986-­‐1433 (S)

House District 34

Representative Ken Helm (D)

rep.kenhelm@state.or.us

State Capitol
900 Court St. NE, Suite H-­‐490 Salem, OR 97301

503-­‐986-­‐1434 (S)

House District 35

Representative Margaret Doherty (D)

Chair, House Education Committee

rep.margaretdoherty@state.or.us

State Capitol
900 Court St. NE, Suite H-­‐282 Salem, OR 97301

503-­‐986-­‐1435 (S)

My daughter Jordan and I, she is the reason I am so interested in education and common core.

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