There are many problems with the American education system; the advent of Common Core has certainly underlined many of them. Politicians love to blame a lack of funding or a shortage of quality teachers for the failures of public school systems, but the truth is that no amount of money can fix the problems we have — and neither will politicizing and standardizing education at a federal level.
Since Common Core’s inception in 2009, it has been subjected to heft amounts of criticism, and most of it was warranted. This year’s high school graduates, the class of 2016, were in sixth grade when the final Common Core Standards were released to state agencies and made public. In 2013, 45 of all 50 states had adopted Common Core, largely at the behest of the Obama administration and pressure from their “Race to the Top” initiative. And by the 2014-15 academic year, all schools were required to have “assessments” that aligned with the Common Core standards to ensure that students were “college and career ready.”
One thing that the government fails to realize is that teaching students how to do well on a test does not, in fact, prepare them for life. All it does is teach them how to take a test. “Teaching for testing” is the biggest crock in the American education system — it prevents teachers from doing their jobs effectively, holds students back, and it impedes the entire educational process. “Teaching for testing” is the worst possible stance one could ever take when it comes to education. Federal-level standardized testing is what we should be subjecting pesticides and Big Pharma’s latest concoctions to — not students and teachers.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is the “largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America’s students know and can do in various subject areas,” per the NAEP website. The NAEP is the “test to end all tests,” if you will. And this year’s Common Core graduates, who’ve been subjected to the madness for half of their education — did not do very well on the test. After seven years of Common Core, the average test scores were abysmal across the board. The Huffington Post reports:
The average performance of high school seniors dropped in math and failed to improve in reading from 2013 to 2015. Performance was also down on both tests from 1992, the first year that similar tests were used.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, fewer students were rated as “prepared for college” and more students fell below “basic” levels of understanding in both math and reading. The tests are essentially designed so 70 percent of students will fail — most of whom are the neediest students in our society.
The Common Core education system’s sole purpose is to create complacent individuals that are incapable of complex, rational thought — not to make them “college and career ready.”