Since the U.S. Department of Education more or less mandated implementation of the ‘Common Core‘ education standards on a state level, I have seen numerous examples of how such suggested teaching method fails. As a small example, several states have opted out of the Common Core or backed away from some of the assessments associated with the standard.
There is a simple explanation of why Common Core is misguided: Methodology. Neither the federal or state departments of education should be concerned with teaching methods or even content. They aren’t competent to do so. It is acceptable to set minimum standards for what students should know by a certain level of education (e.g. basic algebra by graduation from high school) in order to be able to access higher learning (college) or obtain employment after high school, but it is not useful or productive to suggest how teachers should get their students to achieve those levels.
Why? There are a multiplicity of answers to the question why government should not dictate teaching methodology.
(1) Those in the teaching profession have received their degrees and certifications in teaching methodology, so we should just let teachers do what they do best – teach. They are ‘on the ground’ (so to speak) and are in the best position to know what works and what doesn’t with their students. Someone sitting in Washington DC or a state capitol has no concept of individual student needs in a classroom. Further on this point, each state – nay, each locality – will vary on what teaching method is best and bureaucracies are too inflexible to adapt to these variances.
(2) Enforcement is expensive. First, consider that virtually all textbooks and materials had to be changed or purchased anew to conform with the Common Core. Second, teachers had to learn the new methodology, so there is training expense. Third, parents and the public also needed to be informed, so there are marketing and public information resources that are expended. This is not a cheap proposition.
(3) Standardizing methodology disregards the needs of the disabled and those who learn differently. While emphasis and resources are spent on the Common Core, it is at the expense of those who truly need the support of government to ensure their access to education. For example, special education has taken a backseat to Common Core implementation and school districts are taking advantage of that by pushing back against parents who are trying to help their disabled children. The U.S. Department of Education, which as direct Congressional authority to enforce special education law, has essentially ignored the setbacks relating to education of the disabled. If resources were not dedicated to Common Core, they could be focused on enforcing special education law.
There are numerous other reasons why Common Core is an effort in futility, but as with other social experiments by government, we won’t see those effects until we have a population of young adults who aren’t able to function in the workplace or in institutions of higher learning. That is not a social experiment worth the risk.
I encourage all of you to contact your state legislators and governors and tell them to opt out of Common Core and let schools get back to the job of teaching kids rather than complying with nonsensical federal mandates.