Friday, April 10, 2015

To Opt or Not To Opt? That is the Question.

There are high stakes tests about to be given very shortly. There is an incredible amount of stress involved for parents, teachers, administrators, politicians, and of course students. I'm going to discuss my own experiences with it. I've spent an average of 4 hours a day since September doing Common Core math homework with my child. On weekends and vacations its much more. Many of the students in her class can not finish the work. The grades of those students are lowered significantly. My daughter and some of her classmates are doing well, but in my opinion the price is too high. She no longer has time for extra-curricular activities and rarely has time to read a book for enjoyment. Much of the Common Core work is so convoluted that it borders on nonsense. It's often counter intuitive and wants the answers completed in the longest, most complicated way.

I recently spoke with her Math teacher. She told me she believes in Common Core and these tests. She says it challenges students. This may be true, but at what cost? No more family outings or vacations (the incredible amount of work given sees to that), no more childhood fun, and no more time for outside interests. The teachers will be evaluated on those scores. I was just told the teachers in her school have a gag order imposed, they can't mention opting out. As a teacher and a parent I'm against Common Core and the tests, but I could not tell my child not to do the incredible amount of work given to her. Her grades would have suffered. She is highly competitive and respects her teachers. It's incredibly unfair what's being done to students, parents and teachers. Make no mistake, at least 80% of the students taking these tests will fail. It also, in my opinion, takes away much of the joy of learning and teaching. The real danger is that it will completely turn students off to learning and new, enthusiastic teachers to teaching.

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Stories herein containing unnamed or invented characters are works of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.