Children of the Core
by Kris Nielsen
If you’re a parent of school-aged children in the U.S., you’ve probably heard of Common Core by now. What is Common Core, and why is it so controversial?
Common Core is a set of educational standards for grades K – 12 that has thus far been adopted by forty-four U.S. states. The Common Core Standards Initiative (CCSI) sets forth what children across America should learn at each grade level in mathematics and English/language arts, with the end goal of ensuring that every child in the country graduates from high school “college and career ready.”
It sounds really good on the surface. But there are many problems with Common Core and the associated standardized testing, and there is a growing body of educators and parents who see Common Core as a very bad thing for kids, schools, and teachers. There are many people who believe that anything will be better than No Child Left Behind – an initiative that has resulted in “drill and kill” teaching, teaching to the test, and students who memorize facts only to do well on the standardized tests they are pressured to perform well on because their teachers’ jobs and the future of their schools depend on their test scores. There are others who see CCSI as NCLB on steroids.
Kris Nielsen is a former teacher whose letter of resignation to his school district went viral in 2012. Nielsen is intimately familiar with Common Core from an educator’s perspective, and has written this book, Children of the Core, to caution parents and offer advice on how a peaceful resistance can be staged in order to prevent Common Core from taking over the U.S. education system before it’s too late.
It sounds alarmist and the stuff of conspiracy theorists, but there actually are some truths about Common Core that every parent should question and be concerned about. Children of the Core is very eye-opening, and I’ll be using it to provide some talking points when I meet with my school district’s superintendent next week to discuss Common Core in our district.
3 thoughts on “Children of the Core by Kris Nielsen”
[…] I highly recommend Children of the Core by Kris Nielsen to parents and educators everywhere. I wrote about it here. […]
“but there actually are some truths about Common Core that every parent should question and be concerned about.” I was hoping you were going to tell me what they are… kinda like the crib sheet version of the book.
Sorry, yeah, I wrote that in kind of a rush.
The main things I am concerned about are as follows:
– The Common Core Standards were NOT drafted by educators. They were drafted by lawyers and corporate people who have no background in education.
– The main reason states are adopting CC is that they are basically being coerced into it. As we all know, education budgets have been slashed and slashed again over the last several years. Schools are desperate for funds. Obama’s Race to the Top is a federal initiative funded by the likes of The Gates Foundation and other non-profits, and the only way states can get their hands on those funds is to agree to adopt Common Core. The same organizations who have funded the Race to the Top stand to profit exponentially from Common Core because they hold the license for the Common Core Standards and they will sell school districts across the nation the textbooks, testing materials, and pretty much everything else that goes along with Common Core. Basically, it’s a racket.
– The Common Core Standards were never field tested anywhere. OUR kids are the guinea pigs. Proponents insist that the Common Core standards will accomplish this and that, but history shows that it takes about twelve years to see the real end result of a particular curriculum.
– There is a lot of information out there that points to CC being developmentally inappropriate, and therefore will set up a large fraction of the student population to fail. At the very least, it will likely increase stress among school children. It’s very much tied to more standardized testing, and the fact that schools’ futures and teacher’s careers will depend to a large degree on their students’ test scores, it’s just more pressure for everyone. There’s little room for any passion for teaching or learning – it’s all about getting good test scores.
– Our kids’ data will be tracked and shared and sold to various entities without our knowledge or consent.