Parents Please Do Ask Questions About the Common Core

school-lockersU.S. News & World Report had an article on the Common Core, Kelsey Sheehy writing at their High School Notes blog said parents should ask three basic questions:

1.  Why are they backtracking (speaking of state officials)?

Actually state officials are not backtracking because they were not brought into the decision-making process to begin with so that isn’t an accurate picture of the situation.  In many cases they want to do their due diligence like Sheehy is asking parents to do.

She said the reasons that some oppose the standards are:

In most cases, opponents of the standards argue three points: That the state’s own standards are already rigorous, that the effectiveness of the Common Core standards is not proven and that national standards diminish the autonomy of state and local education officials.

Actually I’d also add the process was flawed, there are problems with the content and the federal involvement is illegal.

2.  What will it cost?

Excellent question – we still are not completely sure.  She made the following point that I have in discussions I’ve had with folks.

Beyond the resources already spent, parents should also look down the road, too. Districts that implement new, online standardized tests called for under the standards – and that upgrade their computer systems so students can take them – could eat up a big chunk of school budgets.

3. How do your teen’s teachers feel about it?

This is the least relevant of the three questions.  Not that it doesn’t matter what teachers think, but I find it highly doubtful that you’re going to get a straight answer out of most teachers.  Many of them don’t want to speak out because of their job.  Some frankly don’t care about some of the local control, constitutional issues behind it or the cost.  Even if they were the best standards in the world the process of implementing was flawed.  Until they are field tested how will we really know?  Ask a teacher how they feel about high-stakes testing and teaching to a test, because with the companion assessments this is what will happen.  A better question for a parent to ask is this – with the information you now possess, how do you feel about your child being subjected to this?

The primary problem with this article is that these questions should have been asked BEFORE any state signed on.  These questions (and more) should have been asked by state legislators and parents alike.  It’s too bad we were never given the opportunity.

Photo Credit: Steven Depolo via Flickr (CC-By-2.0)