Feedback: Criticisms Of Common Core

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No matter whom you ask in education, everyone has an opinion on Common Core.

Even those who like the idea of Common Core say New York's education department is doing it wrong.

"I don't know if disaster is a good word, but I like to use it now and then because I think the way they're doing it is way too fast. Our teachers are being asked to be teaching things that they're getting the day before," said Scott Connell, superintendent of Copenhagen Central School District.

This is about state modules.

They're a sort of teaching script including lesson plans, assignments and other material for teachers to use.

They're made by the state to help students meet those higher Common Core standards.

The state is handing these modules out to teachers just weeks and sometimes days before they're to be taught.

Many teachers say even when they get the modules, the kids aren't ready to learn the material. 

That's because teaching material is written under the assumption that kids have been learning Common Core for years. 

"There's gaps in the 8th grade curriculum that are there, not because students weren't paying attention the first seven years, but because it wasn't there," said Adam Staab, a math teacher at Copenhagen School.

Here's the next criticism - it's about the modules again. 

Teachers say they're handcuffed if a district forces them to use the modules.

Everything from the lesson, to the class work, to the assignments is scripted.

They say this doesn't allow teachers to be creative and doesn't allow them to personalize lessons for students.

"When you have modules that are very scripted, telling the teachers exactly what to say, exactly what to do, that's leaving very little leeway for teachers to react to the individual student," said Staab.

Theoretically, students will start doing better each year as they get used to Common Core and build up a base of knowledge. 

But some teachers even say the material is just too hard.

"I would invite them to come to my classroom. I don't think it would take them very long to realize this is a very big mistake and unrealistic and unfair," said Doug Saber, a 5th grade teacher in Potsdam.

Those are the major criticisms of Common Core.

The state isn't ready to roll it out, the modules aren't designed to allow teachers to be flexible, and the material is incredibly hard.

But not everyone is saying Common Core is all bad.

Asa Stackel will the have response to those criticisms in Part 3 his series "Common Core: The Basics."

It airs Tuesday and Wednesday on 7 News at 6.

See Part 1

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Saturday, September 20, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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