Criticizing moms for advocating for their children not the best way to get them to back off.
On Friday, Arne Duncan, U.S. Education Secretary spoke with a group of state schools superintendents about the Common Core, according to the Washington Post. He flippantly stated that “white suburban moms” who oppose the common core are upset because, “their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were.”
So let’s stop for a second and forget for a moment that teachers are just as fed up with the common core, if not more so, than “white suburban moms”. Let’s ignore the education specialists and the psychologists and the counselors, social workers and principals who have come out against the Common Core. Even some students are speaking out, rather eloquently, against the common core. But let’s not talk about the high stakes testing, the lack of research backing the new standards and the less than upfront politics surrounding the adoption of the common core standards.
Instead, let’s talk about moms.
Moms are upset by these new standards.
Really? I’m more upset, personally, by the testing, the money spent, the lies, the half-truths and the political agenda the curriculum manufacturers are pushing thanks to the new standards. I’m frustrated by the fact that these “high standards” are not in fact higher for everyone, and that those who won’t adopt the standards (even if it is because their own standards are in fact higher than the new ones) are losing funding that will trickle down and impact the teachers, and the kids.
I’m angry that teachers are being handed crummy curriculum and told to teach it with no alternatives. I’m sickened by the sexual content being taught our children in a twisted effort to desensitize the next generation to perverted ideas. I’m shocked by the inability of our school officials to answer basic questions, even going so far as to arrest parents who refuse to sit down and be quiet.
But most of all, I am a white suburban mom who now, suddenly, can see so much more clearly the agenda of the Federal government. The goal is not to educate our children so that they can compete in a global market. It is not even to simply raise the standards of education from what they were a decade ago. It’s to demoralize the parents. It’s to convince parents that all they are capable of doing is provide clothes, food and transportation for their children to get to the local school.
Don’t take that too seriously though, because while parents may be able to feed their children, they certainly can’t do it without the help of being told what food to feed them, so don’t bother packing a school lunch.
Should Mom’s Have a Voice in their Children’s Education?
Heaven forbid a mother actually voice concerns about what the government run schools are teaching their children. Or not teaching their children. Heaven forbid a mother actually question why their child, who used to bring home good grades, now comes home with failing grades. These students, by the way, are not suddenly dumber, and the standards are not always that much harder – the assignments are just plain confusing:
A kindergarten assignment that states: “Draw 8 circles. Use a 5-group”.
Or a 5th grader who is supposed to “use benchmarks to estimate”.
Or my personal favorite: “Mr. Plantamura had a total of 228 bookmarks. Mrs. Schare had a total of 278 bookmarks. Which is a reasonable total number of bookmarks Nicole saved?”
Here are the answer choices for that one:
506 because 228 + 278 is about 300 +300= 600.
506 because 228+278 is about 200 +300 = 500
506 because 228 + 278 is about 200 + 200 = 400
506 because 228 + 278 is about 200 +400 = 600
Now, parents are going to be confused by some homework because it will look and sound and feel different than what they had growing up. But teachers are not allowing text books to go home so that parents can help. Parents are being told to not show their kids how to do the math any other way than what is taught in class. In fact, one text book contains a letter to send home to parents that specifically tells them to NOT teach their children the methods they learned growing up until after the child has chosen a different strategy. And the strategies being taught often require more steps – adding 37 and 42 by adding 30 and 40, and then add 7 and 2 then add 70 and 9 for your final answer. Yes – great mental strategy but when done on paper this just adds opportunity for students to make a mistake!
Parents’ hands are being effectively strapped behind their backs so they can’t actually help their child at all, but if you complain about it, you white suburban moms, you’re against progress, and, as our esteemed Arne Duncan states: “Do we want more for our kids, or do we want less? Do we want higher standards or not?”
So let’s stand up for more. Let’s stand up for higher standards. Let’s do it upfront and honestly. Let’s do it without an agenda and without political motivators. Let’s do it without financial incentives and without confusing jargon. Stand up and fight for your child’s education. Read everything that comes home. Read it with a critical eye. Discuss everything with your child. Know what is going on in the classroom. Ask to see the text books. Ask to sit in and observe a class. Document everything. Do not allow teachers and principals and school officials and the Secretary of Education of the United States of America bully you or tell you that you are not capable of knowing what is best for your child.
As I write this, I am watching my girls dance and laugh in the sunshine of an unusually warm November day. I need to protect that laughter. I need to prevent education from crushing their spirit. I will fight for my rights as their mom to make the decisions I need to for their education. My children are not brilliant. I freely admit that. But they are smart. They are capable. And they will not be treated unfairly by a government school system that does not see the value in my opinions as their mother. Take that to the bank Arne Duncan.