One of the unsettled questions about the Common Core standards is whether they will widen or narrow the achievement gaps between children of different races and different income levels. In their first trial in Kentucky, the gap grew larger, and scores fell across the board. Some see this effect as a temporary adjustment to higher standards. Some suspect that it is intended to induce panic among parents about public education. Some see it as an opportunity for entrepreneurs to sell more stuff to schools.

This teacher read Stephen Krashen’s post last night about the Common Core and offered the following comments.

“From a teacher who has spent this year implementing CC I can tell everyone it has been a nightmare of epic proportion.

“We were already a standards based Title 1 school with great success over the past 4 years, and these past 5 months have left my students months behind. I am a great teacher, building the relationships necessary in a TItle 1 school for students to learn. I have always posted 90% and higher pass rates on the state test (not that I give any heed to those numbers – even though my job now depends on them), but I will be shocked if I hit 70% this year following this CC crap.

“The design and implementation has left my Title 1 students feeling like failures. There is no “leveling of the playing field.” If I am to salvage something from this year I will have to risk my job and fix what CC has done for my students, essentially nothing.

“There was zero thought given to low income students, how they think or how they learn. You cannot build EVERYTHING on previous learning. Anyone who teaches TItle 1 will tell you it does not work that way. The achievement gap widens, and will become irreparable in just a few years of CC.

“I sit here over my Christmas Break trying to figure out how to implement CC for the next 5 months and still catch my kids up to level. CC is not about teaching. It is about the creation of two separate educational systems, one for the haves, and one for the have nots. Sadly for my students, and more than 50% of the children in the South, they have not and CC is not helping.”

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What a complete and total disaster coming our way and there apparently is no way to stop this train wreck or is there? What can we do?

Keep speaking up. Be fearless. Have the facts. Facts matter. In the end, knowledge and facts conquer false narratives. The big lie works until enough people see it for what it is. keep educating the public.

Finally, the Big$ EdReformers are achieving their goal: the last hardworking kids and teachers are scoring so low that the TFAtypes will swoop in and save the day with charter schools and Poverty Pays$$$$$! What noble achievement!? Shame on you!

I am a teacher at a Title I school and I disagree with your claim that CC will widen the achievement. CC is good for ALL students, especially in math. It has the perfect balance of procedural fluency and conceptual understanding. I would love know what has made you feel this way.

It’s not good for my learning-disabled son, who missed a lot of content in the jump to CC and it completely lost. And he’s not the only one. The insistence that there be no remedial classes leaves a lot of students falling into an enormous chasm. I’m starting to worry that my son won’t be able to graduate from high school because of this.

Has your district made any attempts to cover the gaps in concepts? Our scope and sequence was written by teachers like me. We knew that this would be a difficult year, but we added those gaps into the scope and sequence for this year.

The teachers have tried to cover the gaps. The District’s answer to the problem was “hand them a calculator.” My son can’t figure out how to set up the problem in the first place–a calculator does not help with that!

This teacher’s story is a cautionary tale for districts in how they implement and assess the Common Core. To drop students in to a groups of standards in, say, 10th grade, without the prior 10 years of preparation does not seem wise. Yet, we can ill afford to grow from kindergarten up. There needs to be support for teachers to implement the new standards. At the same time, we should all remember that these standards resulted from a hodge podge of state standards that were widely disparate in rigor.

Standardized tests will only compound the stress for both teachers and students. Where states have implemented the CCSS-aligned tests, a 30 point drop was seen in average score results. This is more a failure of how we use tests than the standards. The standards have authentic assessments built in, and allow for reteaching to help students get concepts. This is authentic learning. I urge you, Diane, to pick up the drum beat issued by Montgomery County Maryland’s superintendent for a three-year moratorium on testing. Give the standards, districts, states and teachers time to support our students.

We have been implementing the common core in my Title I school in NYC, and I agree, it is a disaster. It has been mind numbing and has taken all of the creativity and joy out of learning. I’m sure it will be a major boon to everyone who will be cashing in, forget about the children.

This post is misleading. The teacher has not given any specific reasons why CC doesn’t work with her students other than the standards “build on previous learning”. This headline and vague indictment is yet another example of teachers whining that brown or poor kids can’t learn. They can and they are.

If there is a whiner here perhaps that whiner is you.

“Brown and poor kids can’t learn”??? I have nerver seen that written or expressed here. Does poverty often factor into the learning curve, absolutely, but those students can and do learn despite the many daily obstacales they may face.

I think that testing simply for growth without the success percentile being mentioned is the way to go for all students especially those at the elementary level. Did Michael show growth from last year throug this year? Great, he’s on his way and he can feel good about what he has achieved rather that knowing he isn’t in the highest achievers group.

In my school, we are told to go slowly, build the skills, no rush, master the skills. When I talk to other teachers across the country teaching with the CCSS, I realize how far behind we are. No one is doing the same thing. We have no idea what the PARCC assessment will look like. Our Math series is a joke and we’re told we won’t have one next year. Great help in implementation.

This will be the cluster%#%# of all cluster%##%s and guess who they will blame? The lowly teacher in the trenches, who else?

My two cents

http://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2012/03/19/tln_colucci_standards.html?tkn=XUYF%2BD%2BXvdTxInGsNZrp8M25cX8KfD/U6lxG&cmp=clp-edweek

As another post elsewhere stated: if the common core, PARCC and SMART, performance pay, and test driven teacher evaluations (VAMS and SGP) were such good ideas, wouldn’t schools like Sidwell Friends and other schools for children of advantage ADOPT them?

Good enough for the rabble and “other people’s children” though.

Bingo. For that matter, I think Obama and Duncan themselves (and all the rheephormers) should sit for whatever standardized tests they think other people’s kids should take and their scores should be published.

Fundraiser?

I’d pay to see Arnie take some high school exit exams.

I think it’s important to clarify a difference between indicators of success/failure and causes of success/failure. CC may be both, but regarding the idea that assessments will reflect lower levels of achievement because higher standards, that’s not creating an achievement gap – simply differentially assessing student achievement. The absolute level of learning is not higher or lower before or after CC in this dimension – it simply appears different. I can see problems with motivation and self-concept related to lower scores, but the reality is that many struggling kids will already have to deal with this issue with any assessment, thus making the issue not about CC, but about how to mitigate negative affects of low achievement scores, even when those scores are valid.

“The design and implementation has left my Title 1 students feeling like failures.”

This is the real crime of “reform”. We must stand up for our students and shield them. This, to me, is an insidious form of violence.

This is my second year teach with the CC for math. I am a 4th grade math/science teacher. My kids love it because we learn in an authentic learning environment and I love teaching it. You can’t teach from the textbook and expect to be successful with it. It is about using the standards to teach. Everyday in math we look at the standard and how we use it in real life math applications. My class is taught from a problem solving approach. It also about combining skills within the problem solving. I have found that you really can’t just teach the standards in sequential order. It was definitely a transition, but a well needed one. I like the idea of a national curriculum where a kid who moves into my class from another state has been learning the same skills and concepts being taught in my classroom. As for the assessments, they will be problem solving based and you can see an example on their website: http://www.parcconline.org/samples/mathematics/grade-4-mathematics. We are teaching our kids that math is not about simple drill and skill or solving a problem from a textbook. It is about applying those skills within the context of something that matters. In the long run, our kids will become better math students. There are a ton of great common core resources on the web and great resources on teachers pay teachers to help you teach the standards.

I’m glad it’s working well for your kids. I think it might be a good thing for kids who are getting these standards from a young age. For kids in the middle of the pipeline, this is insane. There’s too much of a gap and kids are getting left behind. Ironic, huh?

As usual these brilliant thinkers forgot that when you force joining of two different systems you must plan for integration to not cause harm. Guess they forgot that rule here. Now, once again, blame the teacher for the administrators mistake, purposeful or whatever. The whole game in deflection now is to blame those not responsible such as teachers and not administrators. This was one more case of administrators forcing their problems of failure on those below in deflection away from them so that they can continue their destruction. Why do you think Gates gave up on small schools after 10 or so years and then it was teacher failure, not administrators? Administrators spend the money, determine curriculum and how that curriculum will be taught. If one year it is this and the next year it is that your problem, not mine, I just tell you what to do and you do it.

This is spin to paint the victim as the agressor. This is what Gates, Broad, Walton, HP and the rest are doing now in their takeover of public schools in the U.S. with the assistance of Obama and Duncan for profit and control of young minds and the future. This is what is really happening. It is for all the cookies right now in your face. There is no other reason for what is now going on.

I am also a teacher in a title school and absolutely love the math principals for my 3rd graders. I am actually doing my action research on ways to promote investigative teaching strategies to help promote my student’s reasoning because our math curriculum in years past has been awful. I also am a first year teacher so unlike some veteran teachers its all new to me. I think the fact that its promoting thinking is great. I have seen a lot of growth already this school year in there strategic thinking.

I agree with Kaye that we shouldn’t blame the curricula if what is at fault is the implementation and assessment (and follow up). Separating these issues might help us all.

Also, it sounds like you believe that the CC is good for the other 50 % but not for low income students? What then would you do for that other 50%? Do you believe that each group should have different curricula?

Also, I would not choose a curriculum because it widens or closes the gap. To judge the curriculum on that means we’d come up with something that was so easy, everyone makes 100 and already knows it all. Then we have no gap but no learning either. I don’t think that is a good criterion.

I don’t think the common core math standards are good for most kids, not just the Title I students. While they are certainly more focused than the previous NCTM-inspired state standards, which were a horrifying hodge-podge of material, they still basically put the intellectual cart before the horse. They pay lip service to actually practicing standard algorithms. Seriously, students don’t have to be fluent in addition and subtraction with the standard algorithms until 4th grade?

I teach high school math. I took a break to work in the private sector from 2002 to 2009. Since my return, I have been stunned by my students’ lack of basic skills. How can I teach algebra 2 students about rational expressions when they can’t even deal with fractions with numbers?

Please don’t tell me this is a result of the rote learning that goes on in grade- and middle-school math classes, because I’m pretty sure that’s not what is happening at all. If that were true, I would have a room full of students who could divide fractions. But for some reason, most of them can’t, and don’t even know where to start.

I find it fascinating that students who have been looking at fractions from 3rd grade through 8th grade still can’t actually do anything with them. Yet I can ask adults over 35 how to add fractions and most can tell me. And do it. And I’m fairly certain they get the concept. There is something to be said for “traditional” methods and curriculum when looked at from this perspective.

Grade schools have been using Everyday Math and other incarnations for a good 5 to 10 years now, even more in some parts of the country. These are kids who have been taught the concept way before the algorithm, which is basically what the Common Core seems to promote. I have a 4th grade son who attends a school using Everyday Math. Luckily, he’s sharp enough to overcome the deficits inherent in the program. When asked to convert 568 inches to feet, he told me he needed to divide by 12, since he had to split the 568 into groups of 12. Yippee. He gets the concept. So I said to him, well, do it already! He explained that he couldn’t, since he only knew up to 12 times 12. But he did, after 7 agonizing minutes of developing his own iterated-subtraction-while-tallying system, tell me that 568 inches was 47 feet, 4 inches. Well, he got it right. But to be honest, I was mad; he could’ve done in a minute what ended up taking 7. And he already got the concept, since he knew he had to divide; he just needed to know how to actually do it. From my reading of the common core, that’s a great story. I can’t say I feel the same.

If Everyday Math and similar programs are what is in store for implementing the common core standards for math, then I think we will continue to see an increase in remedial math instruction in high schools and colleges. Or at least an increase in the clientele of the private tutoring centers, which do teach basic math skills.