Cut Out Common Core

Reese Bennett, Columnist

Have you recently watched the “Incredibles 2” trailer? Trust me, it’s relevant. One clip from the trailer features Robert Parr a.k.a. Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) attempting to help Dash (Huck Milner), his son, with his math homework (at 0:59 here). Dash tells his father that he isn’t supposed to do his math homework the way Mr. Parr is doing it, but the way his “New Math” book tells him to do it. Mr. Parr promptly becomes enraged at the fact that the education system is changing math. This is how everyone feels about Common Core, the crappy educational “advancement” that has yet to prove its usefulness in society.

If you ask any student at any school, it is safe to say that at least half of them are not in support of Common Core, or the Core. Those students aren’t the only people who disagree that the Core is helping students and thoroughly preparing them for college. According to The Washington Post, it was a common agreement among more than 100 education researchers that Common Core does not heighten the achievement rate of students. The Washington Post also states that a survey shows that many teachers say the new way of educating their students lacks much of the content needed to be college-ready.

For me, I don’t mind Humanities Common Core curriculum, but I despise how the Core has changed math. Since most schools received the order to introduce Common Core into their teaching during inconvenient times, such as in the middle of the school year, students were confused at the sudden difference in instruction; in the math branch specifically, some children were even held back a math level or had their mathematical skills stunted or slowed due to the new, confusing way of doing their work. Instead of learning how to count the multiples of nine with their fingers in a quick, easy method, they were now learning to write a three-part equation to find what 9 x 2 is.

Moving back to the “Incredibles 2” trailer, another huge issue with Common Core is the gap between child and parent. To clarify, because parents were never taught this way, my parents cannot help me because they don’t understand how to do what I am doing. As children, we depend a lot on our parents for help. It isn’t a good thing that my mom or dad can’t help me and that I have to ask a friend or email my math teacher. If my teacher doesn’t respond, it can develop into a lot of stress.

So, besides what teachers, students, or parents have said, has the Core actually done anything for America’s educational system? According to The Huffington Post, an NAEP study done shows that the the average performance dropped in both math and reading from 2013 to 2014 for seniors. It is also proven by the study that since 2013, the amount of students scoring above “basic” decreased and the amount scoring below “average” increased. Brookings Institution is also skeptical of Common Core’s supposed benefits to pupils. A long, thorough study conducted by William H. Schmidt and co-authored by Richard T. Houang talks about how there is no clear evidence that America’s new form of learning positively affects students.

Common Core isn’t completely bad, however. As Collaborative for Student Success argues, many states, such as Kentucky, have benefited from the better information taught through Common Core’s standards. Nonetheless, I’m not really falling for what Collaborative for Student Success has to say. It was an organization created to support the use of Common Core in classrooms, so despite its weak bits of research, it is fairly biased. Plus, it isn’t an actual research base, such as Brookings Institution.

There’s definitely a lot of discourse about Common Core, but if you boil it down to the facts, there is much more supporting evidence against the Core than for it. It has lowered the success rates of students, failed to prepare high schoolers for college, made it hard for parents to assist their child, and more. President Donald Trump promised he would get rid of Common Core as one of his campaigns, but he has yet to act on that. Many say that Common Core cannot be disposed of, but it should at least be altered. If anything, I would prefer the altering or disposing of the Core to be prioritized over something like building a wall.