Search form

Principal: How Common Core Hurts Disadvantaged Students

Principal: How Common Core Hurts Disadvantaged Students

In a series of letters two school principals, Carol Burris of New York and Jayne Ellspermann of Florida talk about Common Core State Standards.

The duo just shared their third letter in an article on The Washington Post with the help of Valerie Strauss. In the second letter, Ellspermann explains to Burris "why she thinks the schools in her district benefit from the Common Core." Here is Burris's reply to Ellspermann.

"Although New York’s experience has indeed been rocky, the problems I see go beyond the mechanical issues of implementation," Burris wrote, according to the article. "I blame the standards themselves, and I am not sure from your response whether my concerns were heard."

Burris said that "if only every child in America grew up in a financially secure home and had access to enriching activities and an excellent pre-school."

"Jayne, we cannot judge the appropriateness of the standards by our grandchildren’s experiences with them," she wrote. "I don’t think the wisdom of early childhood researchers should be easily dismissed. If they are correct, the long-term, negative effects for many of America’s children will be enormous."

I can tell you that students of color, economically disadvantaged students, and special education students disproportionately 'failed' our Common Core tests, both in 2013 and in 2014. New York’s achievement gap increased. If we were to retain all third graders who scored a '1' on our Common Core tests [1 signifies below basic and 3 is proficient], New York would retain about 45 percent of black or Latino students, 75 percent of students with disabilities, and 75 percent of English language learners. Is your state prepared to do that? Given that the preponderance of research says that retention is not effective in the long-term, and is associated with increased dropout rates, would this be fair to Florida students?

Burris wrote that she wonders if "things might have been different if the standards were introduced as a model for states, with no Race to the Top funds attached."

"I wonder if teacher evaluations and tests were not co-introduced, if our states might have carefully reexamined and implemented standards on their own," she wrote. "But as Mindy Kornhaber, a professor at Pennsylvania State University who has studied standards-based reforms for twenty years tells us, standards and testing are 'just two sides of the same coin.' We cannot view the standards apart from the tests designed to measure them."

Read the full story and comment below.

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

Latest Education News
What better way to promote summer learning than to engage in STEM activities?
Why Singapore's math curriculum is creating the world's best and brightest in the subject.
Sexual assault cases persist from elementary school up through college, so what's the solution to make schools safer?
Some experts are arguing that more classrooms that utilize blended learning will help decrease the high number of...
Parents in the Hazelwood School District are no different than many parents across the country in that they don't...