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Core Learning, teacher testing hurting kids and home life

Paul Tong/Tribune Media
Paul Tong/Tribune Media
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School is kicking my rear-end this year. I hate it. And I don’t mean the schools I work in. . . . I mean my children’s school. My kids are in kindergarten and third grade, and education in New York has gone to hell in a handbasket. With the adaptation of the Common Core Learning Standards and the addition of testing for teacher evaluations, it is a whole new game. And one that is definitely less fun ...

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November 4, 2012
8:32 a.m.

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Great article! As a middle school math teacher and parent of 2 elementary aged children, I couldn't agree more.

November 5, 2012
1:24 p.m.

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Amen Kathryn....this is insane pressure and not fair to the child individually...or the parent..especially a single parent.

November 7, 2012
5:03 p.m.

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perhaps the Dept. of Education should be abolished. Kathryn describes another example of incompetency in federal government run programs, does it not?

November 9, 2012
4:29 p.m.

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35 years ago, in my Kindergarten class of 35, at least half of us could read before we set foot in school. We certainly knew the alphabet, we certainly knew colors, and we could count anywhere from 10 to 100. We knew our addresses and phone numbers. Today's crop of kindergartners are fortunate if they know their colors before they enter school.

Often, one teacher dealt with us in groups depending on learning level. Thus, there might have been 8 or 10 of us who were ahead as far as what we needed to know. I don't have a problem expecting more - sometimes you expect more, you get more. I do have a problem with why we're expecting more.

And, yes - we had homework back them. Perhaps not in K, but certainly from first grade on, when we were learning math, spelling, grammer, and how to read (if we didn't already know how). Repetition is how we learned, so we had stuff to do every night.

We also had a yearly test - that dreaded Iowa Test of Basic Skills. And, despite all that, we survived.

What we didn't have, at least in elementary school was chorus, sports, dance, instrumental music lessons. We spent our time learning what would give us a good foundation, so when those "extras" came into play, they wouldn't interfere with what we needed to know. We didn't take a foreign language until 9th grade. My son took 5 years of Spanish, and can't speak a word. I'll wager I remember more from my one year of Spanish than he does from the 5 he took. (and he scored in the top 5% in the country on his "final".)

We need to turn the clocks back a few decades and start doing what we were doing then, because it worked. We need a longer school day and a longer school year, and certainly a lot less testing. Having said all that, you can't blame it entirely on the educational system. Learning starts at home.