I am a longtime public school teacher and I have four main reasons for standing againstCommon Core. None of them have to do with Barrack Obama trying to take over our schools and turn our kids into socialists.
Endorsing Common Core is to endorse the high-stakes testing culture we havenow. Somewhere along the way, tests went from being a tool to see how kids were doing to the whole kit and caboodle. Common Core does nothing toeliminate or even tone down the testing, which has sucked the joy out oflearning and teaching for countless students and teachers.
The cost: Despite what Pam Stewart says, Common Core is going to be expensive.Estimates for Florida range from a couple of hundred million into the billions of dollars.Undoubtedly, some of those costs will replace costs we otherwise wouldhave incurred. But others should raise a huge red flagthat the powers-that-be are not trying to clarify the expenses. Most of thatmoney, by the way, will be diverted away from schools and classrooms.
Next, it does not address the problem facing our schools, which is poverty.
When you factor out poverty, our children zoom to the top of the internationalrankings. Common Core does absolutely nothing to address poverty and until wedo, all Common Core does is throw money down a hole -- sorry, make that into thebank accounts of testing companies, the primary financial backers ofpeople like Jeb Bush who support Common Core.
Finally, if Jeb Bush is for it, you should be against it. Everything he has supported, from his A-F grading scale to charters and vouchers, has done great harm to education.
Jeb Bush is a flimflam man who sends his children to exclusive prep schools with small classes without high-stakes tests, while at the same time sentencing our children to schools he would never send his kids to.
Furthermore, since he was in charge of our education system for eight years, he is in effect saying, I got it wrong with the standards we had in place when I was in charge, I would like a do-over, a very expensive do-over that doesnt address our problems (poverty) and allows my backers to get richer.
Common Core does absolutely nothing to address the problems in our schools. If the powers-that-be are desperate to spend money, let them do so on thingsthat mitigate poverty -- smaller classes, a longer school year and wrap-around services that include social workers and mental health counselors, becauseoften why a child does poorly in school has nothing to do with school.
Chris Guerrieri, a public school teacher for 13 years, is currently at the Palm Avenue Exceptional Student Center in Jacksonville, a school just for special needs students. Guerrieri teaches art to disabled middle and high school students. He also runs an education blog, Education Matters, at www.jaxkidsmatter.blogspot.com.