Parents Discuss State’s Adopted Common Core Standards

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Parents are meeting to get answers and share experiences about the state’s adoption of the Common Core standards.

Amanda Andrews has two kids who are in elementary school. Her son is in third grade, and over the last years she says she’s seen him slowly start to lose his love of learning. “Our kids are coming home defeated, and they still have to do four or five hours of homework, and they don’t get to be children anymore,” Andrews says.

She attributes that to the emphasis put on teaching and getting students ready for the adopted Common Core standards. Andrews says she’s now finding out exactly what the recently implemented evaluation methods will mean for her son. She says other parents in her son’s class say the same.  “It’s in our schools today and parents don’t have any idea,” Andrews says.

So that’s how the discussion in Huntsville on Sunday afternoon came about.

Terri Michal is one of the organizers.  “What I wanted to do today was have a non-partisan meeting to where people can come out and look at facts and truths without looking at it through colored glasses, red or blue,” Michal says.

Alabama adopted the standards in 2010, as did most of the nation. That adherence from most of the states is the partial reason behind their creation.

On its website the Alabama Department of Education states “The standards provide consistent learning goals for all students – regardless of where they live – so that when children move from one state to another, they will stay on track in school, making the transition of moving more seamless for both students and teachers.”

It goes on to say having common standards with high-quality academic benchmarks taught nationwide will be beneficial in getting students on track for college and careers.

But Andrews says her son is almost burnt out, and she says herself and many other parents have been left in the dark. Andrews says now she’s taking measures she thought she never would have to do, but believes it’s her only choice. “I have prayed and prayed about homeschooling with some friends, who have also been praying about homeschooling, and most of us have decided we are going to homeschool.”

She says discussions like the meeting Sunday have helped her come to that decision, and says while the standards might be right for other students, they are not right for hers.

15 comments

  • luciacape

    My 3rd grader only has homework twice a week and loves school. Both my kids are learning the “what” and the “why” under the Alabama College and Career Ready Standards, and I appreciate the support the teachers and principals are giving to the standards. Enrollment is up, graduation rates are up, and tests scores are up across our systems. We are on the right track.

  • Debra

    There is nothing good about Common Core anything they do say about it is lies, It is evil and set up to make your kids fail. you are not safe in Homeschool either. They are putting it in our curriculum too. Lets band together and get rid of this mess

  • JA

    I still don’t understand the problem with CC. I saw some people on the side of University Drive holding signs such as, “Common Core rapes our kids.” If it is being compared to rape, it must surely be evil! Or, the people fighting it have a screw loose.

    I looked up what CC was, and still do not see a problem. So Alabama wants to adopt the same standards most states are using, so people moving here from other states are on the same level. What’s the issue?

    Both my wife and I moved here from other states. Both of us were forced to take lower level classes because the schools here simply didn’t offer anything at the level the schools we left had. I had to retake a class as a senior here in Alabama that I took as a sophomore in the previous state, simply because they had nothing higher to offer…

    So, I’m left believing CC is a good thing, and it doesn’t in fact rape kids. If someone can explain to me why it’s so bad, I’d appreciate it.

  • Upset Parent

    Homeschooling should not have to be an option. We pay taxes. We should not be forced to pull our children out of the public school system. Tell me why a 1st grader has to know that 9+7 is not 16, it is actually 9 + (7 – 1) = 9 +1 +6 = 10 + 6 = 16 and if they don’t do it that way it is wrong. He already knows how to add 9 and 7 together, and he gets 16 every time he does it. Math has been around for thousands of years, and nothing has changed. We have sent man to the moon using the Mathematics that we learned as children, why change it now? Why force a child to think in the abstract when they are not mentally capable of doing it yet. Does anyone remember the big push to convert to the metric system? How well did that work out?

    • lindamo27

      I see that addition, subtraction, addition problem and understand your frustration. I remember my kids starting school and they are now 37 and 34 yrs old. They started what they called “new” math. I understand learning long division, short division, adding, subtraction, etc., but if you can prove how you came to the right answer using fewer steps why change the way it is done just to be “up with other states” core curriculum. If you come from New Jersey and move to Alabama, or any other state, 9+7=16, as was stated no matter if you take it in 4 steps or just adding the 2 numbers together. If the child understands the mechanics of the way to do the problem, then leave them alone. Yes kids do sometimes get way too much homework, especially for their ages. Making them do a few math problems on a new type of problem to see how well they understand it, is wonderful. Now doing 20 problems that may take them about 30 min or so and but giving them 50 problems just so they can do more is not really helping especially in younger children who have had to pay attention all day in school and now come home for another 4 or 5 hours of homework. Did they work on these problems in class at all? Or did the teacher just instruct and then make them do their work at home. I was a sub for 8 yrs in a local high school, and started subbing in the elementary school about 3 yrs before that, and even high schoolers need some time to wind down. Some subjects do require a bit more practice or usage, but not to the extent that the child is burned out after the first day learning a new skill. English, Science, Chemistry, Math and the other subjects do need to practiced, but teachers give homework sometimes just to give it. I gave homework, I gave tests, and quizzes, but I also went over the subjects that I was familiar with when subbing and my teachers that knew I was not adept at Math, for instance, would leave work for them to do on problems they were learning, I could help them by checking their answers and letting them know if they were even in the ball park, if not, there were usually 2 or 3 students who would help those having a problem. During a test they took their test, turned it in and the teacher would grade it, I would just check to see that they had finished it. In English, History, Health, Literature and some other subjects I was able to teach them, as I was an English/History major and was comfortable in teaching them. Homework is to be used to see where the student is having problems, giving diverse questions, problems, etc that shows how well they understand what they are doing. The number of problems, questions doesn’t have to be a huge number, but diverse enough that the teacher sees that they understand. I do remember that at one time schools had tried to control the amount of homework by using a system by which the students had maybe English and Math homework on Mon and Wed, then Science and History on Tues and Thurs. Fridays were often left up to some of the less stressful subjects, such as Health and any other subject they may have including foreign languages. This did seem to work and the amount of time to complete the homework assignments were also noted. Say no more than 1 hour for each subject or even less in some classes. With the technology today, for instance, even in Math, they may learn the “long” way to get an answer while in grade school, high school, even college, but if they learn how to do the problem, getting the right answer and proving it to their instructor, once they go out into the “real” world their boss is not going to check how they got the answer they just want to see results that are right. Give our kids a chance to be kids, enjoy learning, and also having our teachers have to keep pushing paper back and forth to make it seem that they are doing a great job. I had many teachers that didn’t give an abundance of homework but enough that they knew we were learning. I am 63 yrs old, I like the old school better, love the new technology and better ways to do things, but feel they need to let the kids learn the way that they do best and not overload them with homework and no time to relax and WANT to learn. I guess I should stop now as you have probably thought I’m an idiot, but I have watched kids become frustrated by so much work and no time to be a kid, have real family time, not just time to go over their school work, but to just discuss what may have made that day wonderful instead of fretting over how long they will need to do homework and get to bed to get up the next day bright eyed and bushy tailed the next day.

  • JA

    I still don’t understand the problem with common core. Someone please explain why you don’t want your child to learn at the same rate as the rest of the country.

    I moved here from another state. As a senior, I was forced to retake a class that I took as a sophomore in the other state, simply because Alabama academics was a bit behind. With common core standards I would have actually been able to continue from the level I was already at.

    If your child cannot grasp the concepts other children around the country are able to grasp, than you should probably focus on getting a tutor, or, gasp, supplementing the education at home. Why do you all want to hold your childrens’ educations back?

    • Upset Parent

      The problem is with the way they are implementing it and what they are teaching now. The concept of having all states at the same level is great, but they took that concept and included it with a curriculum that is not realistic. They are also using common core to take the opportunity to indoctrinate our children into their way of thinking.

      • JA

        I’ve got a couple more serious questions. The first time we heard of common core was seeing a group on University Drive with signs saying such wonderful things as “Common Core R4pe’s our children.”

        1) What is unrealistic about the curriculum? Are the standards even higher than other common core states? If a student cannot keep up, will they just hold that student back as they’ve always done?

        2) What ideas are they indoctrinating children with?

        Thanks

    • Branko Pezdi

      The problem is that it is the federal government and a highly partisan Dept of Education which oversees and controls Common Core. For instance, English lessons for elementary classrooms have already been discovered with partisan political statements in them. Teaching materials aligned with these national educational standards ask fifth-graders to edit such sentences as ‘(The president) makes sure the laws of the country are fair,’ ‘The wants of an individual are less important than the well-being of the nation’ and ‘the commands of government officials must be obeyed by all.’ Do those statements sound like the principles upon which our republic was founded or socialist dogma and indoctrination? This is just an example of what is in the ENGLISH curriculum. What do you think the American history curriculum will look like? Another huge problem is that the feds are creating and expanding a national database of student data and bribing the states via Common Core grants to build these “longitudinal” databases, which according to a White House / Dept of Education press release dated Jan. 19, 2010, would make the massive amount of information “more accessible … to key stakeholders.” Who are these “key stakeholders”? Orwell’s 1984 anyone?

      Our society’s and children’s academic shortcomings and ills aren’t going to be cured by another national government system.

      The feds’ and states’ entanglements in the U.S. public education system have been largely responsible for how today, in just a single generation, 1 in 4 young Americans don’t graduate from high school, 3 in 4 young people are ineligible to serve in the military, 90 million American adults possess below-basic or basic reading skills and the U.S. has gone from No. 1 to No. 12 in the world in regard to how many young people complete their college education. More of the same is not the answer!

      • JA

        Thanks for your response. I’ve not had much luck finding more information about common core, other than hyperbole such as “it r4pes your children.” Misspelling intentional because the correct spelling seems to get comments filtered…

        I’ve been “for” common core since my wife and I both moved from one location to another and due to lower education standards in this state, our academic opportunity was handicapped. I’m all for leveling the playing field across the country.

        I can understand the concerns of the teaching materials being edited to pass an agenda, but to be fair, it’s been done for years already. Maybe not to the same degree, but textbooks have certainly downplayed atrocities committed by the USA. Maybe it has improved — I’ve been out of school for quite a while.

        If that’s the case, I still prefer the idea of nationwide academic standards. I intend to be involved with, and give my opinion, of my child’s reading material anyway.

      • JA

        Read it. The first bit, covering the recommended times for discussing different portions of the Constitution. I have absolutely no problem with this. It doesn’t prevent teachers from going more into depth, but it does set some sort of guideline — which didn’t exist at all before common core standards. However, it doesn’t prevent parents from supplementing the education, or teachers expanding upon the guidelines if they see fit.

        The next portion, covering the changing and explaining of different parts of the Constitution. I fail to see how it hurts or undermines the importance of the documents to make the inflammatory and shameful language tactics known. I have a bigger problem with the country’s faults being sugarcoated or hidden. I’d much prefer that future generations see how we mistreated others — natives, blacks, women, etc — and hopefully be less likely to repeat the same mistakes.

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