Let’s pretend that Common Core won’t cause teachers to pretend that students who do not learn the skills assigned to that grade are actually proficient. Nor will it cause students who are able to go ahead, to be held back, because those skills are not a part of the core curriculum for their year.
No Child Left Behind led to a rash of teacher cheating, and good grades being given to those who did not deserve them. I know because my children were part of this failed experiment. They also learned strategies to test taking and essay writing that allowed them to demonstrate knowledge without actually having any.
Did you know that if you pick out the biggest word in a question, then find that word in a paragraph and write the sentence you found the word in down you will most likely get the question right?
Did you know that the trick to writing a good summary is to pick the longest sentence in each paragraph, write them down and then change a few words here and there to make it your own work?
Did you know that you can get up to 75% in math by writing the numbers given in the problem as an addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problem in the space provided even if none of your answers are right because somewhere on the paper you demonstrated the right process for solving the problem? (3 points for showing your work/ one point for the right answer. The students who do the math in their heads but get all the right answers receive a 25%…)
Did you also know that a child who does not know all of her letter sounds, and is still counting beans in math at the end of the third grade, in a regular classroom, can receive straight As on her report card because her emotional handicap somehow means she needs to see those grades in order to achieve? (She was pulled out of a regular classroom twice a day for thirty minutes for math and reading taught in a 15:1 setting… And this is what the social worker called being ‘grade level’ and ‘doing fine in school.’)
Instead of standardizing education (because we know that every kid fits the standard) why don’t we encourage teachers to find what works for their students and let the parents be the judge of whether, or not, the child is getting what they need. School choice and more parental involvement is a better option than any one-size-fits-all program (even to the point of the local parents being able to get rid of teachers who do not meet their children’s needs- after all, the parents do pay the teachers’ salaries in the form of taxes…).
I took my children (who were adopted when they were older) out of this system and home schooled them. All of my special ed kids graduated high school. One served in the Marines, and now works in Kuwait. Another is in hotel management and is a high school soccer coach, and the third, who was to live in a group home for the rest of her life, is now a mother of two who works part time at a hotel. If I can do this without a teaching degree, just think of what our schools could do if we pushed them to try!
Let’s stop pretending and make real changes that really work. Implementing programs that are sure to fail and paying more into a system that has not produced results is just plain nuts.