Recently, as I waited in line at the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, my eyes drifted to a sample license plate on the wall that said "Education Begins At Home."
I thought, "Not if they continue with Common Core and these new SAT standards."
Public school education would be limited to "teaching to the test," with limited choices and options for parents to find alternatives for their children.
As the mother of two school-aged children, the Common Core discussion is near and dear to me. There is nothing more important to me than the education of my kids, the curriculum, and the influence that people who surround my kids seven hours a day have on them.
In this Jan. 16, 2013 file photo, concerned grandparent Sue Lile, of Carmel, Ind., shows her opposition to Common Core standards during a rally at the State House rotunda in Indianapolis. Some states are pushing back against the new set of uniform benchmarks for reading, writing and math that replace a hodgepodge of of goals that had varied wildly from state to state and are being widely implemented this school year in most states. (AP/The Star, Frank Espich)
The allure of Common Core continues to fade as governors, state officials, and teachers across the country slowly withdraw their support for the national standards.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal recently announced his intention to pull back from the consortium developing Common Core assessments. Meanwhile, countless teachers and educators continue to argue that Common Core will “dumb down” educational standards and give them less control over what they can teach in the classroom. A resignation letter from a Colorado teacher illustrating these complaints recently went viral in protest to Common Core standards.
Last month, the College Board, the organization that developed the Scholastic Assessment Test, announced revisions to the SAT that will be implemented in 2016. The president of the College Board, David Coleman, believes college admissions exams “have become disconnected from the work of our high schools.”
The new revisions allegedly have been designed to address this issue. More importantly, the new standards are designed to mirror the K-12 Common Core curriculum.
Amy Lawson, a fifth-grade teacher at Silver Lake Elementary School in Middletown, Del., helps student Melody Fritz with an English language arts lesson Oct. 1, 2013. Silver Lake has begun implementing the national Common Core State Standards for academics. Remembering the plot of a short story is no longer good enough in Lawson’s fifth-grade classroom. Now, students are being asked to think more critically -- what, for example, might a character say in an email to a friend. "It’s hard. But you can handle this," Lawson tells them. Welcome to a classroom using the Common Core State Standards, one of the most politicized and misunderstood changes in education for students and their teachers in grades kindergarten through high school. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark)
In 2012, Mr. Coleman took over the College Board in what appears to be a seamless transition. Earlier in his career, Mr. Coleman worked for McKinsey and Company advising urban school districts. He then went on to co-found a non-profit entity called Student Achievement Partners.
It is no surprise to discover that Student Achievement Partners, which claims to join researchers and educators to develop programs that improve student outcomes, played a key role in developing Common Core State Standards in math and literacy. As co-founder, Mr. Coleman led his organization’s contribution to Common Core.
There has been lots of media coverage documenting the new SAT changes and how they mirror the Common Core standards. Even David Coleman has been public about his desire for the College Board to better reflect these standards.
In addition, Education Week has done a detailed, side-by-side analysis of the current SAT, the redesigned SAT, and Common Core.
College Board President David Coleman attends an announcement event, Wednesday, March 5, 2014, in Austin, Texas where College Board officials announced updates for the SAT college entrance exam, the first since 2005, needed to make the exam a College Board a better representative of what students study in high school and the skills they need to succeed in college and afterward. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
At this year’s South by Southwest Interactive Festival, Mr. Coleman said the SAT should offer "worthy challenges, not artificial obstacles."
I am not sure what world Mr. Coleman lives in, but from my vantage point, there are both challenges and obstacles. I am interested in raising children who are capable of confronting challenges and overcoming obstacles, regardless of whether someone deems them “unworthy or artificial.”
Additionally, Mr. Coleman points out that the new SAT offers an optional essay section, which is, in my opinion, a mistake. We should require students to write more essays, especially in our text-prone, social media society. Assessing a student’s ability to express their thoughts in a well written, coherent sentence is an essential skill for college success.
Common Core opponents, including governors, parents, teacher advocacy groups, national-based and state-based education organizations, must continue to fight against the implementation of Common Core. The Common Core /SAT connection reminds me of the scorpion and the frog fable.
The College Board hired Common Core champion David Coleman to infuse Common Core standards into the SAT. It is like the scorpion killing the frog and thus killing them all.
Why is anyone surprised?
Lacrosse Mom. Lawyer. Former Senior Counsel on U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. Follow me on Twitter @HarleyLeBon
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