Jennifer Ohar Scott sees Common Core from two sides: as a teacher and a parent. She says the view is bad from both.
“I’m the assistant leader of my daughter’s Girl Scout troop and I’ve had conversations with parents who are mystified and dumbfounded that they can’t help their third-graders solve a math problem,” Scott told TheBlaze.
Scott, an art teacher at Medina High School, made news this week in the national education debate because of her art exhibit in Buffalo, New York, that she said was meant to show “how ridiculous and nonsensical” the Common Core State Standards are. The exhibit will be on display through June 18.
New York is a hot spot for the debate over the Obama administration-backed education standards developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers and adopted by 44 states and the District of Columbia.
Though adopted by states, Scott further said she “absolutely” believes that Common Core is a de facto federal mandate because its tied with U.S. Department of Education funding for school districts.
“They wave the carrot that they didn’t have before,” Scott said.
New York state Education Commissioner John B. King told WGRZ-TV the new testing is needed to assess student progress.
Nancy Zimpher, the chancellor of the State University of New York system, this week announced a national effort of college and university leaders supporting Common Core. Zimpher said too many high school graduates have to take remedial courses in college and that the higher standards will ensure they are college- and career-ready.
New York teachers unions have opposed the standards and Gov. Andrew Cuomo named a panel to review their implementation in the state. But little has changed, Scott said.
“He hasn’t said much,” Scott said of Cuomo. “He has just pointed his finger at King.”
In one of Scott’s paintings, King is depicted as looking through a school window as if it’s a dollhouse at students made miserable by Common Core. In another, King is wearing a crown and turning his back, not listening to the concerns of the public.
She said she has gotten a uniformly positive response to her art.
“On Facebook and all social media, the response has been overwhelmingly positive,” Scott said. “A student who graduated from here said ‘way to go.’”
The states of Indiana, Oklahoma and South Carolina have opted out of the Common Core standards altogether. She said she hopes that other states follow regardless of their political views.
But she mostly sees first hand how badly it is affecting her school district, even outside Medina High School.
“It’s too big a jump for too many kids,” she said. “It’s a serious problem at the younger level where children are struggling and could get left behind.”