- Tom HarkinSenator
- Arne DuncanSecretary, US Department of Education
It's Time to End Common Core
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were developed in 2009 to create national standards in Language Arts and Math. However, of those who served on this secretive panel that was not subject to public vetting, only a handful had limited teaching experience (most had none), and no one, not one member had any experience in early childhood education. Yet, these standards were sold as a bag of goods, able to even prepare five and six year olds for college readiness, despite citing no research to support this claim. CCSS is yet another poorly designed "reform" of education that emphasizes high stakes testing and has caused states and local school districts to divert precious resources to meet these unscientific, and invalid, standards. CCSS also forces schools with limited resources to curtail funding for the arts, music, and physical education programs even though research shows that these programs help children succeed academically, and especially in the case of physical education, at a time when childhood obesity is at an all time high. It is time for Congress to act and to end Common Core and allow local school districts to regain their authority and teachers their autonomy, to do what is right for our students.
Teachers have always had high expectations for our students and for ourselves. In several states, CCSS weakened student expectations overriding state standards, like in Massachusetts that were age appropriate and were working. Proponents of these Standards use inflammatory language, and in many instances, outright lies, to justify their position. They make falsehoods such as "our schools are failing," that this is a "civil rights issue," or that American students have stumbled beyond the reach of their Asian and European peers. Yet, data provided by one of the Core's enablers, the US Department of Education, using a scientific test, NAEP, support the notion that students at all levels and abilities, including African-American, Hispanic, and English Language Learners, have had their scores increase yearly and are competitive with the rest of the world. As noted education historian Diane Ravitch has said, "Common Core is an answer to a problem that does not exist."
Proponents of CCSS such as former New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, disgraced former DC Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, and billionaire Bill Gates, among others, negate the factors that many of our students face, especially those in rural and urban areas, on a daily basis. Many of our students come from dysfunctional homes, live in poverty (about 23% of all school aged children account for those in poverty, the highest of any age group), have had little or no prenatal care, face violence and drug abuse on a daily basis, and come to school in kindergarten already at a disadvantage academically than their middle and upper income peers. Yet, instead of tackling these socioeconomic factors, we continue to plunge billions into high-stakes testing scams like the Core that will not improve the life of one single child. We've been doing this for 12 years now, with the advent of No Child Left Behind, and expect a different result. The very definition of insanity.
It is time for Congress to act in the name of our children by ridding schools of trying to reach unrealistic standards and to allow teachers to use methods that we know make a difference in our children's lives, such as research-based methods and small class sizes. It is also time for Congress to address the societal ills I mentioned above, otherwise, we will continue to have generations of Americans suffer in the cycle of misery. It's time to end Common Core.
The aim of this petition is to draw attention and debate to an educational policy that has had a devastating effect on children, as well as teachers, many of whom are experienced and outstanding educators, leaving this noble profession in droves, and parents. CCSS with its emphasis on high stakes testing, thwarts learning, creativity, and most importantly, a child's overall development, is the very antithesis of teaching and learning. Our kids deserve better. Stop Common Core!
- Secretary, US Department of Education
It's Time to Stop Common Core
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