Frustrations Mount Over Common Core Standards


By Evie Allen
By Jared Roberts

CARBONDALE -- With school now in session, teachers are using the new Common Core State Standards. Many parents aren't very happy.

Illinois adopted the Common Core in 2010. Teachers and administrators across the state started implementing the new standards during the 2013-14 school year.

Parents, teachers and students are noticing a big change in the classroom. Studies require a little more critical thinking than in the past. 

"Standards represent values, so what is that we hope students can do," says SIU Professor Grant Miller.

The Common Core includes more rigorous standards for Math and English/Language Arts. Miller helps teachers learn how to apply the new curriculum.             

"The big shift that is been happening is a lot less focus on memorization and more emphasis on skills."

Miller says the goal of Common Core is to create a comprehensive understanding of key concepts. In the past kids were taught to memorize answers but not necessarily to understand how they got them.

"It's not to throw memorization out. Memorization and facts and understanding kind of basic knowledge on things is absolutely important. But it's kind of like Wikipedia.  Wikipedia is a great place to start but it's not a good place to end," he explains.

Many parents weighed in on our Facebook page. Most took issue with the Common Core's approach to math.

Christi Bloodworth wrote, "Why take a simple mathematical problem and turn it into an algebraic equation? I'm afraid it is going to hold a lot of children back."    

Mark Wilcox added, "I have always been great at math, but I can't even grasp the concept of this common core math with my third grader."

Grant admits his expertise is in Social Studies, not math, so he understands parents' frustration. 

"If students can cite evidence to support a claim. That's what we're moving towards," says Grant.

While most states remain committed to the standards, five have either repealed the Common Core or started a process to review it.

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