Santa Fe Students and Teachers Left in the Dark on Common Core

Common Core implementation has been rough on students and teachers as this story in the Santa Fe New Mexican illustrates.  The story points outs struggles some high school teachers and students are having in Santa Fe, NEw Mexico.

But do teachers and students know what they are getting into? Santa Fe High School math teacher Charles McClenahan said of the transition period, “Once all the dust settles, the Common Core will be better standards to teach,” but he acknowledged that “the road map from here to there is not well defined.” He supports the standards but feels the plan to achieve them is not laid out well. Citing one example, he pointed to Cramer’s Rule – in which you use a system of linear equations to solve just one of the problems within all the equations — in a Common Core textbook, saying that the method is no longer applicable to today’s math skills.

Other challenges exist. Angelica Vialpando, a math teacher at Capital High School, said some of her incoming students, “don’t know their times tables,” making it difficult to raise them to the new levels of Common Core.

Out of 10 high school students polled, only one could define what Common Core is. Araceli Lewis, a Capital High School student, said, “I guess it’s just like certain classes that we have to meet our standands because I guess we’re falling behind.”

An observation: a school district where high school students don’t know their times tables is a failure already.  This alao points out the necessity for rote memorization of basic math facts and the fact that the Common Core will frustrate struggling students.  Then we enter spin cycle….

In a recent presentation by educational consultant Sheryl White to Santa Fe Public Schools, the standards are emphasized as a way to prepare students for college and “careers that offer competitive, livable salaries about the poverty line” while providing “a vision of what it means to be an academically literate person in the 21st century.” These are the early transition years for this huge experiment, and it makes sense that it will be hardest on the students and teachers pioneering this plan. In a few years, though, the results from this transition may determine whether the initiative will accomplish its goals. (Emphasis mine)

Some truth – a huge experiment, and one we are supposed to wait a few years to see if it finally works.  We can consider it a failure by the way it has been implemented?  When you start off bad it’s generally not a good sign of things to come.  But apparently we are just supposed to trust them.