Common Core…

I have to be honest here.  I’m completely not sold on these Common Core Learning Standards actually I’m really worried about them and where we are going with them.

Here’s why:

1. They were initiated by corporate money and written by people who are NOT educators.

2. They are being forced upon us and used as motivation for our adminstration and Education Dept. to evaluate teachers based on student’s success with these.  I have nothing against creating standards that are the same across states but the precedence these are holding is very dangerous.  High focus on standardized teaching and testing.

3. There is such an emphasis on moving away from novels and more about FACTUAL reading (non-fiction/ academic) and research based writing that it seems that all creative writing and reading is being sucked out!  What about getting kids interested and motivated?  I’m afraid we are going to see a HUGE dropout rate!  More than usual… Kids will have no reason to be excited about school.  If they focus is on more academic reading and less about creativity than they are alienating a large group of kids.

4.  I have art teacher friends around here that are already having to change their curriculum and focus more on vocabulary (word walls, writing, and reading in their classroom) and less about just making art!  I am not against vocabulary… actually I use many in my lessons  and even read to my younger kids along with the theme of the lesson but I’m afraid this is going to overtake the little time I have with them and the focus will be on concrete “right and wrong” instead of imagination and creativity in the work.   I worry that kids will not be able to think of anything new and creative but instead will worry about copying facts.  This is not what I want for my kids.  Where is the joy of using materials… of process.. of doing things differently just to see how it turns out.  I encourage them to deviate from my example if it still falls within the lesson but allows for their creativity.  WHere will that be now?

5. Testing, Testing, Assessing…  We will be needing to create a “test” to measure student growth… all 430 of them in my school.  You can see why I’m not happy about this!  I  am hoping that we are going to be allowed to have alternative assessments like digital portfolio (which I already do to some extent with Artsonia) and maybe a pre and post drawing… We are also being forced to be on the report card.  I know some of you already do grading at the Elementary Art level but we have not.

I am hoping that the Arts will have their own Common Core but I highly doubt it.  Do you think this is a fade?  A fly by night initiative?  It seems like these “standards” come and go and don’t last all that long.  I know art teachers and other “special area” teachers are freaking out about these and how we fit into it all… how are we going to justify our programs to our districts?  Economic times are tough and cuts are deep… where are the arts in all this?

What are your thoughts on this?

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5 responses to “Common Core…

  1. I totally agree with you, Jen…the one thing that really stands out to me is if there are no outlets for creativity…be it art, music, writing…dance…how on earths re these students supposed to learn critical thinking skills…where are they going to apply problem solving skills? I sometimes think that it is the politicians intent is to eliminate education as we know it….not make it better…making it so bad that some parents will actually pull their kids from public schools and either home school or pay to go tp private school…and with the economy the way it is…good luck with that…I am so tired of politicians trying to do our job for us….they think we have it so easy….it really fires me up and initiatives like this certainly make me rethink what I have chosen as a career…as much as I love it…where should the line be drawn?

    • That is my whole point… I agree.. I think they are trying to break down public education and make us look like the fall guys. I mean how can the public know that what they are asking is IMPOSSIBLE to accomplish without support, money, and time. We have none of those things. Parents are not getting what is happening. I can say that I truly loved my job but now I’m rethinking how I’m going to keep the joy in it!

  2. We have both grades and state required testing for art. We test one of four areas each year. The testing is completely up to the art teacher, though, and can even be based on the class grade. This is the first place I’ve ever given a grade (I’ve taught in three other states.) I was really overwhelmed with it last year, but have kind of worked it out a bit more this year.

    I did read (somewhere online) that fine arts common core were being written. I do not understand the lack of respect for the teaching profession, because that is really what this all means. And, I don’t really think the common core is setting a precedence with focus on testing, it is just a continuation of the crappy NCLB.

  3. I know that my district (Howard County in MD) is using what we already use and then “aligning” it with these Common Core State Standards. Our art is our literature…we “read” artworks, not text books. And when we read art we use our critical thinking skills to analyze it and learn from it. Creativity can never be forced out, you just have to learn how to teach the rest of the world how we, as artists and art educators, are already doing all of these things that the Common Core is asking every other facet of education to do. We are the forerunners in this arena…just work the system!! 🙂

  4. I totally agree with you on all of your points. When one researches how Common Core came to be and what it actually entails, it goes against our Constitutional rights. I spoke with one teacher recently who touted it as “great” because “teachers have more flexibility” compared to “No Child Left Behind.” I wondered if that is how “Common Core” was being sold to educators. Rather than project my own opinions, I challenge everyone – parents and educators alike – to research the curriculum further, especially in the areas of English (critical writing assignments), Math (word problems) and History (notice the where the emphasis of American history is being placed). I am VERY concerned.

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