Listening to a recent segment on NPR about the Common Core and the fragment of people opposed to its implementation, I realized that our educational system is defunct. It’s broken and doesn’t work effectively in all areas. That’s not to say that some schools aren’t doing great things because they are. There are some teachers that are making learning real, relevant, and engaging for their students. Some great teaching and learning is happening out there. However, there are many gaps in the system that are causing teachers, schools, and students to fail. We need to fix this before it’s too late.
While the Common Core is a great idea and has plenty of merit as way of helping students and families who move from state to state a lot, the way it was introduced and the manner in which schools are employing it isn’t working. Learning should not be about tests. We need to get rid of high-stakes tests in all schools. Tests prove nothing in the end except that students know how to guess and fill in bubbles. We need to take the Common Core and find a way to make it work for each school and each classroom. Schools and teachers need to unpack the Core and put it into language and objectives that will work for their students. Then, as the year progresses, like all great teachers do already, they will formally and informally assess and grade their students on the objectives and standards. This will allow schools to document the progress of their students in meeting the Common Core standards. This data is much more relevant and effective than any stressful test could ever be.
If we eradicate high-stakes testing and find effective ways to utilize the Common Core to create engaging and fun lessons that allow the students to solve problems and work together, we, as a nation may be able to put ourselves back on track to fixing the educational system in our country. We need to look past using these high-stakes tests as a way of testing the effectiveness of our teachers. Teachers are already working so hard and giving everything they’ve got to their students. We need to remember that and apparently remind our government officials that in the end, it’s the students that matter. Every decision they make must be in the best interest of the students or there will never be a solution to our current dilemma.