WASHINGTON, D.C. – For the majority of Common Core-aligned states, the current school year is serving as a kind of “dress rehearsal” for the nationalized math and English learning standards – and it’s not going very well.
Teachers and students are still familiarizing themselves with this new, so-called rigorous approach to learning in preparation for the 2014-15 school year, when Common Core goes “live” and students will be given standardized tests based on the new learning standards.
But FoxNews.com reports a sizeable number of teachers are discovering that Common Core is leaving them with less control in the classroom – robbing them of their creativity and threatening to reduce them to mere “robots” that deliver pre-packaged lessons “word for word.”
“I’m unable to do projects anymore because we have so much other stuff to do that is based on the Common Core,” one unidentified New Jersey teacher told FoxNews.com. “All the teachers at my school, all we talk about is how we don’t teach anymore and we feel like robots just doing what we are told to teach and can’t have any creativity for the students to enjoy themselves.”
Another educator from Delaware told the Washington Post that her school administrators gave her a curriculum and told her to teach it “word for word.”
She added, “In a meeting with my administration, I was reprimanded with, ‘Don’t forget, standards drive our instruction.’”
Even American Federation of Teachers President Rhonda “Randi” Weingarten – a Common Core supporter – recently complained in a Huffington Post op-ed that “some Long Island public school teachers … have been told to follow a new, scripted 500-page curriculum pretty much to the letter.”
None of this should be surprising. About three years ago, leaders of roughly 87 percent of America’s school districts were abruptly informed that the way they educate students in math and English was about to be turned upside down.
They were told, for example, that Common Core requires them to base an increasing amount of student reading on “informational texts” instead of novels, and that math instruction must focus more on the “whys” than “hows” of calculations.
School leaders are understandably nervous about meeting these new “rigorous” goals, as their professional reputations and futures are on the line. All this uncertainty is causing them to tell their teachers to just stick to the Common Core curriculum scripts the district (likely) purchased from a major textbook publishing company.
And seeing as how teachers’ job reviews will soon be linked to how well their students perform on Common Core-aligned standardized tests, many educators will gladly go along with this.
The end result is the creators of these teaching scripts are directly controlling what’s happening in many classrooms. That is not only detrimental to the long-held American ideal of locally controlled schools, it’s also going to create a boring, “canned” learning experience for students.
It might also cause wannabe teachers to think twice about entering a profession that treats them like robots.