Friday, January 11, 2013

Is the common core sending children over an educational cliff?

Guest post by TimeOutDad

As an aspiring school leader, as an educator, as a parent, I am deeply worried about the education of our children.  There’s been a lot of buzz about the Common Core Standards and how they’re supposed to somehow get our children college and/or career ready by raising the standards for all.   Sounds great, right?   Well, the message that seems to have been sent to the test-makers is, “Let’s make these high-stakes tests harder than ever.”  Since higher scores in the past haven’t gotten our students ready for college, then we need to “raise the bar” even higher with even harder reading passages and even harder math problems.  That’ll create more success, right?   REALLY?

Imagine yourself as a third grader.  Eight years old.  Now, let’s click on the latest Sample 3rd Grade English Language Arts sample questions (from EngageNY.org, a New York State Education Department website that provides resources for educators and parents) and scroll down to the first reading passage written by Leo Tolstoy.  After reading the passage, go ahead and take a look at the sample test questions.  Go ahead.  Give it a try, and come back when you’re done…

So, what did you think?  Reasonable?  Fair?  How about some math?  That’s our reality.  Our children.  Anyone else see an educational cliff?

(In case you want to see other sample tests for other grades...  http://engageny.org/resource/new-york-state-common-core-sample-questions
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