Common Core is hard, but that doesn’t mean we should quit

Beth Kramer | | April 7, 2015 –

I recently learned that the Alabama legislature is still trying to pass legislation to abolish Alabama’s College and Career Ready Standards for math and English, and will soon hold another hearing to discuss repeal. This will be at least the third public hearing held in the last three years. Enough is enough.

I’m a parent. I am not only a parent, but I’m also part of a military family and the military community in Alabama. Military children attend many schools throughout the United States and overseas. I currently hear positive comments from military families about moving here, due to the high academic bar the College and Career Ready Standards — often called Common Core — set for Alabama.

Military kids spend their lives with parents who are defending our nation, and the least Alabama can give them is a solid education that will keep them competitive if they move to other states. This means an education that promotes critical and creative thinking, giving students the ability to reflect, assess and judge, as well as be innovative.

I have three children: twins in the sixth grade, and an eighth-grader.  I was concerned about moving from one state to another without knowing about how the schools compared. However, those fears were soon allayed due to the quality of education that the current academic standards bring to Alabama. Our children transferred seamlessly into our system and love their schools. Last night I mentioned they want to take away the standards. One of my sixth-graders asked, “Why Mom? Are they trying to make us dumb?”

I am friends with their friends’ parents, who were also shocked and upset to find out SB101 would even be considered. These parents see the advantage our state’s standards offer, and they cannot understand why we would ever force our children to regress. As a parent, I am asking legislators to PLEASE stop and think for the sake of our next generation of citizens.

The truth is, the College and Career Ready Standards are working, and my children’s improved performance is proof. They are very excited and interested in the courses being offered in our system. We all learn best when we are excited about a subject. Please take the time to see what is happening in classrooms, and you will understand why this bill would be detrimental to the next generation of Alabama citizens.

I understand the temptation of those who want to go back to what was easy. I’ll be the first to tell you that these new standards have been challenging. My kids have been learning math and English under the new standards for the last three years. At first I was concerned, but now it is all starting to click for them. They are understanding math and English much better than I ever will be able to.

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