Common Core Reforms Needed

By Ethan Heineman ‘15
Increasingly heated debates over the past several
months concerning the Common Core standards adopted by
New York State and other states across the country have prompted
government discussion over the usefulness of the initiative.
The website claims that “Building
on the excellent foundation of standards states have laid, the
Common Core State Standards are the first step in providing our
young people with a high-quality education. It should be clear
to every student, parent, and teacher what the standards of success
are in every school.” Proponents of the nationwide initiative
claim that the standards will ensure that students keep up
with the global pace and receive an enriching education in public
While it’s hard to argue with these goals, it isn’t so
hard to argue with the ideals and methods of Common Core.
Not only is the Common Core system flawed, the
implementation of it is as well. According to, in a
quote about the introduction of Common Core into New York
State, “Parents in so many communities, both urban and suburban,
are angry over their children’s failing test scores.” There’s
nothing to gain by failing kids on tests that you give them when
they haven’t been taught the material. If the Common Core hasn’t
been introduced, testing them on it is unfair and unreasonable.
If the standardized test grades are to be used to evaluate
teachers, teachers who were given an “ineffective” mark two
years in a row would be at risk of losing their jobs. Test scores
would make up around 20% of a teacher’s evaluation grade according
to a February 4 New York Times article. Legislative leaders
are urging the Board of Regents to “delay the use of Common
Core tests for high-stakes decisions about teachers, principals
and students for a minimum of two years,” according to The New
York Post.
If the goal of the Common Core is to make sure kids
are prepared for college and the outside world, that’s a fair goal,
but forcing students to do article summaries in their gym class
isn’t going to achieve it. For the Common Core to succeed, reforms
will have to be made both in the system itself and the
way it is introduced into school systems. Eliminating petty work
for students that doesn’t enrich them, refraining from forcing
students to take preliminary exams that they’re due to fail, and
training teachers in the teaching methods of the systems would
be good ways to fix the broken system.

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