Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Common Core Insanity. Tis the season to TEST

As, I scrolled through Facebook this morning ALL I saw was “Common Core”.  It was parents complaining, opting out or wishing their kids luck. It was teachers pleading that their efforts and competence not be measured by these tests.  It’s that time of year I guess but really is all this hype necessary. 

Why are we putting so much time, effort and stress on these tests, on our children and on our teachers?Isn’t it just a test? Since when are elementary/middle school children so stressed about a test that they make themselves physically sick over it. Why are they so stressed about it? What’s the big deal? Let it be another day, let them get a good night’s sleep, eat a good breakfast and send them on their way to take the damn test. Is there any other discussion that needs to happen besides “You are having a test today” because I feel the more we discuss it the more they will stress about it. The more we complain about it the more they will react to it.  Let them do their best, maybe they suck at taking tests or maybe they are great test takers either way, does that score define who they are or their individual intelligence?  These test scores do not tell the story of what kind of student they are or will become. 

Opting out, why is that even an option? Does that help the children? Sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do, even if we are stressed out. However, again it’s really hard for me to understand why and how kids become so “stressed” about these tests, unless it’s the adults that are making them feel this way.  My son has Kindergarten Screening coming up, should I opt out of it because I know he’s scared to go into a room with 4 unfamiliar teachers for an assessment while I wait in the hallway? Should I opt out because I know he will be scared and I don’t want his scores to be low? C’mon really?  As they grow they just can’t “opt out” of doing things, so why is opting out of these tests even a choice?

I am not an educator. I do not pretend to know how things have changed for teachers as they adapt to “Common Core”.  As a parent I want there to be state guidelines for teachers to follow. I want to know that there are general expectations and standards to follow within the curriculum. However, I also feel these standards should be free of any mandates that tell teachers how to teach because there are many ways to be a good teacher, not just one.  I also believe that you cannot judge teachers based solely on test scores. You can of course if you assume all children come to school with the same abilities and intelligence level. If they have the same educational resources available to them and return home to the same support systems.  However, we all know this is not the case and that every child is different, therefore the test scores can no way determine the competence or credibility of your child’s teacher. 

I have blogged about Teachers before, actually at the end of last school year. 
                Old Link    http://beingjmarts.blogspot.com/2013/05/thank-you-teachers_24.html 
 I believe teachers do so much for our children and often are not recognized enough. They spend so much time with our children and influence them in many ways that are not inside any text book. 

I am just an average Mom speaking my opinions. I don’t pretend to know the ins and outs of “Common Core”.  I however, will not let test taking consume my children, I will not let them opt out because their nervous or I’m afraid they won’t score well and I definitely won’t let it change my opinions of great teachers based on their test scores.