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.