Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Common Core Kills Innovation, Tortures Students

Because it's a government thing.  And government is the WORST at deciding what's best for people.

When people innovate, they find better ways of serving people.  That's just as true in education as it is in business.

Today I spoke with a parent who was searching for 'a good old math text' she could use, because everything she could find was labeled 'Meets Common Core standards'.  The content of these was making her understandably crazy, because she couldn't follow the explanations required by Common Core.  Trying to find one not labeled for Common Core is almost impossible.

Under Common Core, teachers open a book that tells them what the student should be doing today.  There's no innovation.  There's just a recipe.  Add drill, shake, and bake.  It doesn't matter if the product turns out poorly, the recipe book says to move onto the next task.  How do you take yeast that hasn't proofed well and use it to make bread?  It doesn't matter.  The bread is due for the oven at a specified time, and in it shall go, with or without yeast.

Stacie Starr, an Ohio teacher, describes her dissatisfaction in this article.

It's not just that it's one-size-fits-all, which usually doesn't fit anyone very well.  Common Core is like one of those medical quick-loss diets where the only thing consumed is a nutritional liquid concocted in a lab.  It will barely sustain you.  It's boring, dreary, and tasteless.  It's also developmentally inappropriate, asking children to do things that are beyond their cognitive development.

The prescription of Common Core has killed educational innovation.  Students are people, and no two are alike.  But the ugliest part about Common Core is that innovation isn't allowed.  It shall be Common Core or nothing at all.  Parents who are looking for supplemental materials to try and repair the damage are finding it impossible.  A book titled Math, the Old-Fashioned Way might be a best-seller.

There are people not directly associated with a classroom who have a wealth of educational ideas to offer.  Some have years of classroom experience, are fabulous with kids and people, and clearly know what they're doing.  But Common Core has pinched them off, curtailed their livelihoods, and excluded them from the educational setting.  "Sorry, if it doesn't meet Common Core standards, we can't use it.  We don't have time.  We're too busy practicing for Common Core tests."

It isn't just schools who recite this.  I hear this from parents who are unwilling to step off the Common Core conveyor belt for fear their child will be left hopelessly behind.  If, as a tutor, I can offer repair of the math phobia but not the Common Core model of doing things, then my services may be rejected.

Understanding the subject matter isn't the goal anymore.  Allowing oneself to be conformed to a strange and unforgiving standard is a psychological technique used to convince people they aren't smart enough to stand up for themselves.  The teacher, who should be the one who rejoices in opening reluctant brains becomes the deliverer of torture, tightening thumbscrews while saying, "Hold still, honey, this is going to hurt, but it will be good for you."  It only teaches people to put up with pain while those in charge stick it to them again.  It kills innovation in the student, too.

Yup, this has all the earmarks of a great government program.  More teachers should stop putting up with it.