A mother in North Carolina wrote for advice. Her daughter in first grade is studying algebra. Her teacher said it was the Common Core. The mother is baffled. She asked for help. Here is an informed response:

“I am responding to the blog entry from the mother in N.C. who is concerned about the Common Core Standards and their effects on her first grade child. I am an early childhood teacher educator–I’ve taught teachers of young children at Lesley University for over 30 years. I can tell you that the Common Core Standards for young children are developmentally inappropriate, not based on how young children learn, and in my opinion, causing a great deal of harm to young children all over the country (the standards have been adopted by almost all states). The standards require young kids to master skills and sub skills that are isolated from meaningful contexts and not at the level of young children’s thinking. Teachers are responsible for teaching these inappropriate skills and facts to young children and do so through a lot of direct teaching. Instead of building their own ideas in ways that make sense to them, young kids have to memorize answers without real understanding. The Common Core Standards were not developed from the professional understandings and input of early childhood educators. As far as I can tell, few if any early childhood educators had input in writing these standards and thus they are not a good reflection of what children should know and do in the early years. We have to find ways to reject these standards by joining with other educators and parents, as they really will undermine the confidence and learning of our nation’s children and have serious implications for our future.”

Nancy Carlsson-Paige