Published January, 28, 2013. Excerpts:
Murrieta Valley Unified School District Trustee Paul Diffley shares my concern and has voiced grave reservations about the impending changes at recent school board meetings and to local parents.
Problem No. 1, Diffley said in an interview last week, is that parents don’t even really know it’s happening.
“Oh, it’s not on the radar, and that’s what’s scary,” he said. “I have mentioned this to parents, and they look at me and say, ‘What is common core?’”
Bureaucrats have billed common core standards as a way to align what students learn nationally, so everyone is on the same page, so to speak. Both Diffley and I agree, however, it’s more about the federal government controlling schools and what students are taught. Once common core is instituted, “school boards and local superintendents will be largely meaningless, and what we have to say about curriculum, and what we have to say about the particular needs of particular students, will be meaningless,” Diffley said, adding that’s a big problem.
The common core academic changes proposed also hurt the learning experience, Diffley said, referring to their emphasis on nonfiction for English classes at the expense of literature and creative writing. “We are going to lose a lot of fiction, where the core of rich vocabulary is learned,” he said. What’s more, common core math standards eliminate Algebra I in the eighth grade. Instead, it will be taught in ninth grade. Another change pushes division from fifth to sixth grade.“They have an overall lack of rigor,” Diffley said. “It’s the dumbing-down of education.”