Common Sense, NOT Common Core: A Frustrated Mom Sounds Off

Prepare for my first “political” post.  Hopefully it will be my last, but no promises.

I went to sleep worried about something, and clearly I did not solve the problem in my dreams, because it’s still a problem this morning.  My problem is:  I can’t help but think our government is failing our children.

What happened to common sense?  Shouldn’t that trump Common Core?

{Ok…maybe ‘trump’ was a bad word to use…you may have a bitter taste in your mouth now, and I apologize.}

I’m distraught.  Math is math.  293 x 9.  Nine times three, carry the two, nine times nine, add the two, nine times two, add the 8, done.  2,637.  So, what the heck is this?

Yes, I figured it out, and obviously so did she. Doesn't change how I feel about it.

Yes, I figured it out, and obviously so did Tigger. Doesn’t change how I feel about it.

You don’t even want a glimpse at how they suggest to work out 1,237 x 365.

Tigger is in 5th grade, and she has always made excellent grades.  She has a very extensive vocabulary, is an excellent reader, and just an all-around smart girl.  She figures things out, or as one teacher said of her, “she just knows how”.  I’m not bragging (ok, maybe a little), but just setting the stage.  With Common Core fully implemented in our schools, she has hit a brick wall.  She is being asked to do things that just don’t make a lick of sense.  Yesterday she quoted her teacher saying, “I don’t know how they expect you to do this if you haven’t even covered basic division, but oh well”.  Instead of the teacher being able to stop and teach the division, she must carry on with the curriculum, stick to the lesson plan, and cover a certain amount of material before the next lesson comes up…if not, she could score low on her evaluation, which makes her fear for her job.  (Somehow, Pooh escaped this nonsense in her formative grades…. just timing, I guess.)

As most of you know, Coach is an educator.  He has been teaching for 19 years, first at the elementary level, and for the past 12 he has taught high school.  Do you know what his main area of concern is?  Safety.  My husband is one of the safety coordinators at the school, and has to attend training in a couple of months on how to deal with an active shooter (training I’m sure many teachers wish they’d had years ago, but also wish it was not necessary).

Coach’s morning started yesterday with a huge, hair-pulling, scratching, biting, punching fight that he had to help break up, while the students all encouraged and cheered  the little scrappers on.  He said he was absolutely disgusted by their behavior.  I guess until one of them gets seriously injured, the students will continue to behave this way, videoing violence on their phones so they can share it with the whole world. I hate that…but with lessons being what they are, many kids feel insecure about their education, and feel like they just cannot measure up.  Insecurity can certainly bring about some bad behaviors.  No, I can’t blame Common Core for the fight, but it is hard not to wonder if the frustration of being unable to learn in a normal way doesn’t cause some tension, tension that kids don’t know how to release in healthy ways.

What has happened in our country to cause the education system to become something to make kids feel like bumbling idiots, and the teachers feel like they’re on the SWAT team?

“Home school!”, you shout.  For those of you who do it, I commend you.  I know it takes a special kind of person to teach your kids at home.  But, how can my girls learn about living in the real world if they can’t experience things like Friday night football games, hanging out with their friends, having their hearts broken a couple of times, playing in the marching band?  How can I teach them how to interact with others if all they have is me, our dogs, and the rabbit to talk to and socialize with?

And besides all that, my husband and I have to work to make a living.  I know some folks are exempt from that requirement in life, but we are not those folks.  I like to eat, have lights and heat, and I like the peace of mind that comes with providing for our family.  I may not always work outside the home, but I will always work, Lord willing.  If I’m going to work, pay taxes, and do my part, and if I’m going to abide by the law and send my children to a government mandated school each day, then I fully expect that school to be a place for learning- academically, practically, and socially-how to survive in this world.  In other words, why should I have to home school, when I’m going to be financially supporting the education system anyway?

Before anyone jumps down my throat, OF COURSE I teach my children at home.  I teach them how to treat people, how to carry themselves, how to allow people to treat them, and even how to do simple math.  I encourage them to read, even when they don’t have to.  Tigger plays cards with Madre and me, and whips us constantly at games that most adults don’ t get.  We play Yahtzee, and the girls have been adding up their own dice since the age of 4.  We play mind games, we talk politics, we talk religion (we have taught them to love Jesus), and we talk relationships.  I am very involved in my girls’ lives, and I will not sit back and let them be dumbed down by a ridiculous teaching system that was, more than likely, developed by someone who has no children (as a matter of fact, I never hear anyone who does have children bragging on how great Common Core is, only those who have never had to sit down and help with Common Core homework).  I have, and will continue to,  take the time to teach them how to do a simple math problem.  Unfortunately, when I try to teach them in common sense terms, it brings tears of frustration, because they definitely understand my way better, but are not allowed to practice that at school.

Something has to give.  If you agree, do your part and write your state officials, congressmen and women, whomever you need to…and, very intelligently, ask them to remove Common Core from the curriculum.   Join a support group, express your feelings to your kids’ teachers and administrators, and fight for your childrens’ and your rights.  Do your homework (which I have already begun), educate yourself on what’s being taught, and present your case to the powers that be.  I’m going to.

I posted something on social media last night, expressing my frustration at the situation, and was overwhelmed with likes and comments.  Many teachers jumped in to express their frustration, as well.  I know I am not alone, and that does give me some peace.  I just hope that, together, we can change the course of our kids’ education to something that really will help them make it in this big ‘ol, ugly, mean world.  I doubt their college professors will make them draw bubbles to show their work.  If they attend a tech school, I’m sure they won’t have to break each step down into 15 smaller steps to get by…how would you ever make a living like that?  There are only so many hours in a day.  If they’re path is to join the workforce, I doubt that their bosses are going to allow them take 45 minutes to do something that should only take 5…time is money, you know.  Common Core is not the answer.  Let’s give it the boot!

X,O,X,O,    Martie