Some strongly opposed to Common Core

  • Friday, March 21, 2014

Provided At a January DD2 board meeting, citizens rallied outside the DD2 Administrations Office to protest Common Core Standards.

While Dorchester District 2 school board members are still in discussion about Common Core State Standards, and despite what survey results might say about what teachers think, those opposed to the standards have made their voices heard.

DD2 Assistant Superintendent Sean Alford reviewed survey results with board members on Feb. 27, showing how teachers felt about the implementation of CCSS. When the National Education Association (NEA) released survey results on Feb. 11, outlining the beliefs of its membership regarding the standards, DD2 decided to conduct a survey of its own.

When asked if CCSS will “lead to improved student learning” for all of the students, a majority of 64 percent answered with “strongly agree” or just “agree.” Only 4.4 percent, representing 55 people, answered “strongly disagree” and 17.8 percent answered “disagree.” Another 13.4 percent said they were not sure how they felt.

Initially it appeared the DD2 board was leaning toward supporting CCSS, but pulled out in its March 11 meeting feeling it should not yet take a stance on the matter.

Since that survey was released, Linda Ensor with Lowcountry Conservatives in Action has analyzed the survey results herself, and in her findings she determined a number of teachers are against CCSS.

One question asks teachers’ opinion of whether CCSS will lead to an “improved learning experience for all the students.”

“It’s true that 65 percent responded ‘yes’,” Ensor said, “but 35 percent either disagree or didn’t know.

“Thirty-five percent is not an insignificant number,” she added. “It makes me wonder why such a high percentage doesn’t agree.”

Ensor went on to determine that 58 percent of responding teachers believe that CCSS will not help educators focus on what is important; 53 percent say CCSS will not help teachers better prepare students for the workforce; and 71 percent say it is an unmanageable amount of curriculum to teach in a school year.

“If the teachers aren’t able to focus on what’s most important, what will they be focusing on, and why?” Ensor said.

Ensor has been following CCSS since 2010. She feels there may be some good things about CCSS – but not all of it is good.

“If we accept it we have to do it,” she said. “If we don’t accept it we can choose to use what we want to get out of it. By now 100 percent of teachers should really be implementing it but some of them haven’t even started yet. That tells me they don’t like it if they haven’t started it.”

Ensor said she is not necessarily in favor of CCSS because it is not supposed to a federal program, “but the way it was in 2010 was if you wanted to apply for Race to the Top funds, your state had to be Common Core-aligned.”

Ensor said the states voted on CCSS in July and August 2010 and feels the states made a “massive decision” by passing it. “I think the attempt to have kids be in the same place at the end of each school year is a good goal,” she said. “I think the state board passed it with the right intentions, but they were pushed to do it in a hurry.”

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