Common Core: Do the Benefits Outweigh the Cons? (by Marina Bubnova)

quiz-1373314_1920Since being unleashed on the field of education in 2010, common core has been both praised and denounced from all sides. While standards are important for school to have for their students, some thought that common core was an overreach on the federal government’s part. I myself am hesitant about all of it, after all, we’ve all seen those common core math worksheets posted online, and then proceeded to scratch our heads in confusion. These standards also support the competition of where federal funding will go. While I think competition can get a lot of things to happen, I don’t think it’s right to gamble with the education of a struggling child. If a school is already struggling, I don’t see the use in stressing out both the teachers and the students with the possibility of losing even more funding and resources. The reasons these schools are doing so bad in the first place is because of this lack of resources. The schools that struggle the most are usually school with a large low income populace, and the students coming in inherently disadvantaged.

Questions to think about:

How can struggling schools be motivated to do better when the threat of federal funding being taken away is off the table?

Does implementing federal common core standards take away some of the ability from the teacher to effectively teach their classes how they see fit without having to worry about taking and meeting test standards all the time? Especially when there are so many students who are on different levels within each subject.

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4 thoughts on “Common Core: Do the Benefits Outweigh the Cons? (by Marina Bubnova)

  1. Hi Marina,
    I think basing funding of schools on test scores can be really dangerous. If schools who do the best continue to get the most funding, they will continue to get the resources needed to keep performing at a high level, whereas the schools who do poorly will not be given the resources necessary to improve their scores. This seems like it would only further inequality in education. Having national common core standards cannot help ensure all students will receive high quality education if the resources necessary to do so is only awarded to schools that are already achieving this standard.
    In regards to the question you asked about federal common core standards limiting teacher discretion and flexibility in classrooms, I think that is definitely a possibility. If such a test is implemented and that test determines how much funding the school is going to get, teachers will be pressured to focus on preparing students solely for that test. This means spending time preparing students to master the skills and material covered on the test, as opposed to covering the material and teaching the skills they believe are best suited for the individual students in the class.

    • Hi Jasmine,

      It seems then that these schools that are failing to meet the standards prescribed by the federal government then throw that school into a cycle of failure. If they can’t meet the original standards and then lose funding, they then have a harder time meeting the standards they had already achieved. Money is a super powerful motivator, but there has to be a better way to get these schools up to standards.

      In terms of standards, I think it’s important to have a set standard for every student, and the standard should be available for all teachers to know about, but I think it’s important for the teacher to be given discretion as to how these standards are met. Perhaps the students can be tested less nationally, and the teacher can be allowed to determine if the students are keeping up, but then the federal government would have a hard time tracking how everyone is doing. It’s a really tricky problem, one to which there will never be an easy solution.

  2. You are right! I feel the same way. If schools are struggling, then their students are struggling as well. It seems completely unreasonable to expect that a school should do good in their testing scores in order to receive funding. This is basically expecting that a student do good in a test, despite sitting in an uncomfortable classroom environment. You ask,”How can struggling schools be motivated to do better when the threat of federal funding being taken away is off the table?” I think that a big help would be to release some of the pressure we are putting on such schools. These schools already have their own individual problems to solve. Why are we making it harder for them by putting more at stake? In the first place, schools should be funded based on their needs, not based on whether or not a student does good in a test. Since when do students “need” to deserve the right resources, tools, and equipment in their schools? If we want them to lead our country in the future, we need to start providing them what they need to thrive and succeed.

  3. Hi Marina,

    I think you hit the nail on the head when it comes to school that are already struggling lacking in funding. I agree with you that when schools are already lacking in funding that impacts the learning that students receive and in turn affect their resources, which then leads to lower test schools,, becoming a never ending cycle.

    I believe that if schools stop getting threated with funding being taken away due to scores they will end up performing better. For example teachers will be move motivated to teach real world or other lessons instead of prioritizing learning testing skills and having the major focus on that. Also, if schools are still getting funded no matter what the testing score of their students are, then programs like art, music, and technology would not begeting cut and students would be able to have these essential resources. They would be able to grow so much more and be able to experience different fields that they might not have access at home. If these are poor communities, students might not have access to art supplies or a working computer when at home.

    Funding, test scores, and educational resources are all webbed together by one thread, and if one goes wrong it ends up impacting all of the rest.

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