I came out in opposition to the Common Core standards in 2013. My opposition was based on the undemocratic process by which they were developed, without field testing and with no mechanism for revision. Later, I learned that Bill Gates paid for everything–the writing, the launch, the promotion, the advocacy campaign–and my concerns deepened. Early childhood educators have complained ad infinitum about the developmental inappropriateness of the early grades, but there is no one empowered to make changes. No one cared much about the standards until the testing started; the unreasonable “rigor” of the tests, set well above the grade level of most students, produce results that “fail” most students, especially students with disabilities and English language learners. The testing ignited the Opt Out movement.

But what about the standards themselves, detached from the testing and detached from teacher evaluation?

Some teachers like them. Could they become voluntary standards with no stakes attached? This teacher thinks so.

She writes:

“I am a full fledged BAT, and activist teacher. However, after leading a study group that analyzed math CCS (and more importantly the Progression Documents that provide further detail) and having taught using those standards last year, I must say that I frankly love them. They require teachers to teach in such a way as for their students to develop a deep conceptual understanding of math While the testing is balderdash, and the imposition of the standards by the feds is also balderdash, the math standards themselves, while not perfect in every way, have provided my school with an avenue to greatly improve math instruction.

“In our group we discussed how the standards were developed and also discussed how to handle areas that to our professional knowledge are ill conceived, but overall they provide a direction that is positive for math in my district. My guess is that other districts and states, if they move beyond the political rhetoric would find the math portion of the CCS over-archingly sound and enlightening.

“Of course all the testing must go, and I have heard horrible things of the reading standards, but there is much to love in the math standards. I hope the baby does not get thrown out with the bathwater and that other schools and districts are able to take the time to study and find the good in the math standards – I believe they provide a more humane and intellectual way to teach math.”