Home > Education > Those against Common Core do not fear change, they fear lack of change in the future

Those against Common Core do not fear change, they fear lack of change in the future

October 17, 2013

NoCommonCoreToday the Argus Leader posted an opinion piece from retired school teacher Renee Rebnord titled “My Voice: Common Core should be welcomed, not feared“. There is much in opinion piece I disagree with. But for now I want to focus on one statement from Ms Rebnord:

Having seen change after change in education for 40 years, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by the reaction to Common Core standards.

Between that statements focus upon ‘change’ and the titles focus upon ‘fear’ it would then follow that Ms Rebnord believes opposition to Common Core comes from a fear of change. I do not believe this to be the case. While there will always be a certain segment of the population that fears any change, I believe in this case it is actually lack of change in the future that is causing more fear.

The Common Core Standards are about getting all students to attain a certain level of achievement. Without further research this sounds great. Who doesn’t want their child to meet standards that theoretically will help them throughout life? Yet as I study the Common Core Standards I find they are not about getting the greatest amount of achievement from each student. Instead the Common Core Standards push each student to achieve the same level of achievement when their education is done. Another name for this is outcome-based education, and I find it disturbing no matter what it is called.

Instead of trying to get all students to achieve the same level, schools should be focused upon expanding the natural skills of each individual student. Every person has a unique set of abilities and skills. Trying to get all students to achieve the same level for key skills (math, science, reading, writing, etc..) means the following unintended consequences will happen:

  • Students that excel in certain areas of study will never reach their peak potential. This is exactly what those opposed to Common Core mean when they say the standards will ‘dumb-down’ students. Keeping high potential abilities of students back just so each student can feel equal seems to be a downright illogical path.
  • Students that have problems in certain areas of study will waste time on an ability that has already reached its maximum potential. It is OK for some people to be ‘below standard’ in some areas of study. That doesn’t make that student any less worthy than other students. It simply means that not all students will develop at the same rate or attain the same achievement levels.

Instead of pushing for standards that lead all students to the same destination we should be finding ways to enhance the diversity that exists within humanity. Over forty states have signed on at least in part to the Common Core standards. Each state has its own unique culture and economic conditions. Instead of each state trying to equal each other I believe they should try to find ways to maximize their local talent potential. Doing so would mean there would be vastly different methods of teaching and curriculum used in various parts of the country. That is OK! Diversity is a good thing! Many of the school districts may in fact decided to implement the good parts of Common Core. That is also OK! Being able to choose from various sources and innovate new methods of teaching will enhance diversity.

If we head down the path of nationalized Common Core it will not only ignore this diversity; Common Core may actually stifle diversity within the United States. That is what many of us who oppose Common Core truly fear: a lack of change and diversity in the future. Once schools across the country fully implement and embrace Common Core it will be hard (if not impossible) for good teachers to actually implement changes that would maximize their students potential. I personally hope we do not head down that direction as a nation and fear for our future if that is the chosen path.

  1. October 18, 2013 at 9:59 am

    Excellent article that SD will understand. Now that Lora Hubble has a platform she can educate the people of SD about common core. I commend her for that.

    • Ken Santema
      October 18, 2013 at 12:24 pm

      Yeah, I am happy Hubble is taking a stab at the Governors office. I don’t give her much of a chance to get the R nomination. But she can use this platform to get the message out there.

  2. Steve
    October 18, 2013 at 11:14 am

    “It is OK for some people to be ‘below standard’ in some areas of study.”

    How would you like schools to determine when it is OK to cut the efforts to help a child to succeed in an area of study? More specifically, what Common Core standard would you point to to be the example of the thing our kids really do not need? What unique SD trait will be extinguished with the Common Core standards?

    You speak in vague generalizations that fall apart in application.

    • Ken Santema
      October 18, 2013 at 12:35 pm

      I speak in vague generalizations on purpose. My opposition to Common Core has nothing to do with the individual standards contained within. Some are good and some are bad. But focusing on the individual standards takes focus away from the bigger picture.

      In the bigger picture Common Core is a re-branding of outcome-based education at the national level. There is no single answer as to how each school would cut efforts in an area a student has reached their peak potential. That is the point of opposing Common Core for many people. Trying to centrally create a standard that can easily be applied is futile and creates too many unintended consequences for students.

      Education standards applications are best handled at the most local level possible. I wouldn’t presume to try having an answer as to what the ‘best’ standard is for all schools. Personally I wish others wouldn’t presume to have ‘the answer’ either.

  3. October 18, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Years ago there was a clear difference between the high school students who were going to college and the ones who might go on to vocational or trade school, if they sought any post-secondary education at all. The ones going to college took a college prep path loaded with foreign languages, science, math, etc. The boys going to vocational schools took the auto mechanics and shop classes. The girls signed up for home ec & culinary arts. There wasn’t the current belief that everybody’s kid should go to college. Now everybody thinks their kid should go to college. Hence, we need just one set of standards, the college prep standards. All the children are above average now, and if they don’t excel, it’s the school’s fault!

    • Ken Santema
      October 20, 2013 at 4:56 pm

      I am happy that one of my nephews is looking at tech school when he graduates. he knows what he wants to do and realizes he doesn’t need college to get there. Everyone should be helping their children choose their best path; as opposed to pushing all students to college.

  1. November 12, 2013 at 9:02 pm
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