Curriculum Issues with Common Core

Many examples of radical, biased, psychologically based, or just academically inferior  curriculum have been popping up all over the country. Proponents of the Common Core standards constantly try to dismiss concerns about these lessons by saying that the standards are not curriculum and that it will be up to states and local school districts to determine curriculum.

 

What the standards supporters fail to explain is that Common Core is a set of national standards that is aligned to federally funded and supervised national tests and model curriculum that will drive curriculum choices, because the stakes are so high for the test results. These test results will determine student advancement and graduation, teacher pay and tenure, and district funding. 

Because so much is riding on these tests, it is highly unlikely that teachers or districts will choose curriculum that is very different from the national model curriculum or the text exemplars in the English standards, because teachers and districts will be convinced that that is the best way to achieve high test scores.

Proponents also say that the list of text examples in the English standards contain the founding documents and classics works. While it is true that the Common Core official list of text examples does reference the major American founding documents  and some works of William Shakespeare, there are several problems.  The list of exemplar texts do not include the entire U.S. Constitution, but does include a reading from an EPA manual about Insulation levels and another about health care costs. 

The model curriculum for the Gettysburg Address requires students to read it and for it to be taught without emotion, historical background or context One teacher who tried to use this model curriculum said, “The exemplar instructs teachers to ‘avoid giving any background context” because the Common Core’s close reading strategy “forces students to rely exclusively on the text instead of privileging background knowledge, and levels the playing field for all.'” 

The point of learning the Gettysburg address should not be for test preparation or for social justice.  The Shakespeare examples are accompanied by Julia Alvarez’s work In the Time of the Butterflies to be taught in 9th and 10th grades that some college professors are embarrassed to teach due to the book’s sexually explicit nature and leftist propaganda elements. 

These are just a few of the myriad examples of problems with these national standards, national tests, and model curriculum just in English Language Arts.

 

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