Indiana reconsidering Common Core!

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-04-2000
Indiana reconsidering Common Core!
2
Thu, 01-17-2013 - 6:12pm

Yes! Someone finally woke up in Indianapolis. Some have finally realized that our state academic standards were superior to the Common Core and the time spent on developing new plans and tests over the past two years could have been better spent focusing on more effective teaching, planning and assessing of our existing standards. The funny thing is that the groups (from politics, business, special interest groups etc) that have taken pro and con positions are not the usual bedfellows  This should be interesting.

When our now ousted Superintendent of Public Instruction moved us to Common Core he did it outside the normal procedures. There was no input from anyone directly affected. He just pushed it through with political maneuvers and misinformation. Teachers were shut out of the discussion and given their marching orders for the implementation. All of the Republicans in the legislature cheered him on.

Indiana's academic standards across the board have been evaluated by numerous professional groups and experts and they rank in the top four in every area when compared to the other states. Our students will gain little from switching to the watered down, vague Common Core. The new textbooks are horrible, especially in math, and parents are starting to notice how many skills are now being taught to cover the CC. One called it fuzzy math. 

The new Superintendent , a Democrat, had requested a review of the Common Core and how it is being implemented but has not direcly asked to return to our state standards. She is working with a state board of ed appointed by the former governor who initiated and supported the change so she has started slowly and tried to move carefully. One of the state senators, a Republican, has filed a bill to require reconsideration of the change and all of a sudden he has the attention and support of some of the others!  Maybe we will finally look at the CC from an honest perspective.

How is the Common Core being implemented in your state? Any problems? Do you support the concept of the Common Core?

Sherry
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-04-2000
Sat, 01-19-2013 - 5:36pm

In many cases the lessons, books and tests make it clear that the CC standards were written by content specialists, not methodology and/or child development specialists. In third grade math for example, the standard writers seem to see every poissible maniupulation or method to get the answer as equal in clarity and ease of use for the students. Many standards ignore the traditional method of teaching the skill. Lessons require multiple steps that are more complex than the traditional way and all require detailed explanations of why the process is correct and the answer reasonable. Students can't explain using the process steps they learned in the lesson. They are expected to explain theory using properties and concepts they had previously covered..  Third graders aren't ready to analyze, understand and apply the associative, distributive or cummutative property to the answer they got for a problem where they are expected to use a complex set of mental math steps to estimate a sum of two digit numbers.

On one lesson the traditional way to estimate the answer when adding two digit numbers  was the fourth way/method/example given. There was no practice on the traditional/simple method in the book or on the worksheets. When I saw the test it had questions on the second and third methods too even though they were not presented or practiced in detail within the book and worksheets. Written theory explanations were also expected. In math I also noticed no logic in the sequencing of the textbooks. The book jumps from addition to estimation to fractions to probability and back. There's no logical spiral, association or development of concepts It's a lot of fuzzy math that presents skills in the most confusing way and pushes kids for analysis, reasoning and written explanations that they are not ready for. At the same time we've removed real world practice and application that helps them develop understanding in favor of drill, quiz and test expectations.  The kids are getting lost. 

I'm not impressed with CC and the CC textbooks in any subject area. Our standards were clear, performance based, logical in sequence and easy to assess. I sure hope they give up on the CC transition.

Sherry
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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-23-1997
Fri, 01-18-2013 - 10:45pm

I've been in and out of schools for the past couple of years but, I haven't seen it implemented yet. The 2 districts that I have been in are still preparing. Last year we devoted a lot of faculty meetings to discussing it. All of our state testing is going to be revamped but, that hasn't happened yet. It has big implications for the library as there is a push for heavy reading of non-fiction materials and I just know that school libraries are probably not going to get money to spend on beefing up the non-fiction collections.

I also live in a state where I think our standards were better than the common core. Our problem here is that we have a huge racial divide in how our students perform on standarized tests. We had a  lawsuit several years ago as a result of this divide and now in response a lot of charter schools were created. I don't think it's really addressing the problem, though.But, I digress. I don't think we needed to jump on the CC bandwagon and I don't think it will improve the state of education here.