Why Common Core matters to me…

I am flying to New Jersey this weekend to meet with schools next week. I have packed up years of test results, grades and course syllabi to show the new school what my kids have been doing during the last few years to try to figure out how they should be placed next year. Because curriculum and standards are not consistent across state lines, I now have to go in and figure out which classes my kids have already taken (pretty sure my son has already taken their sixth grade history in fifth grade), will their basic language arts class be difficult enough (I’ve hard that East Coast schools are two grade levels ahead than Arizona??) and how they will accommodate that my son needs algebra in sixth grade and my daughter needs geometry in eighth. (At least algebra is algebra right? They can’t fight be about that too, right?)

Meanwhile, I have no idea if my first grader is prepared for second grade in New Jersey. She is doing great in class here and she loves school but how does that compare with what New Jersey taught in the first grade. I don’t know. My girlfriend moved from Arizona to a school overseas and she found that Arizona had not done a good enough job preparing her kids.

I did this same exercise four years ago when we moved to Arizona. I brought in all my gifted testing from Georgia and test scores to prove that my kids should be in gifted here. The Arizona teacher was rude about it. She said it’s hard to know coming from other states if they are really gifted. (Guess what? They were.)

It would be nice if curriculum and requirements were consistent from state to state. It would be nice to move 3,000 miles and not have to reinvent the wheel each time. It would be nice to not to have to prove to school districts what my children are qualified to take and what they need.

So what do you think: Have you ever had to move and figure out how classes and curriculum translate across state lines? Would Common Core help this? Are there other ways to moves to different schools easier on families?

(The kicker to this story is that Michael if flying to Paris the day I fly to New Jersey so I still don’t get to see him — or go to Paris! I will try to get up new posts but I may not have them up while I am gone.)

59 comments Add your comment

catlady

May 2nd, 2014
5:45 am

Theresa, you may find the new school people behave in ways that seem rude to you, too. You might want to dial it back a few notches. When I moved around in grad school, I had the school send for the kids’ records, and I let THEM suggest to ME what might be appropriate. Then, after a few days of school, they frequently made changes, based on the teachers seeing that my children needed more expanded classes than usual. You might ask if there is an evaluation that could be given early on to see if Rose should take Geometry,for example, if they even offer it to 8th graders.

A few times I disagreed with course recommendations, and we did it my way which turned out to be best (at one time the state of GA was shuffling all 9th graders in to economics, or some such. I refused to go along, and a couple of years later GA changed its expectations (I think finding that the course was inappropriate for kids that age)

Do I think CC would help? Not really. You still have kids who are ready and able to go on, and many who are not. I think having a common tool to evaluate them would be more helpful.

Catherine

May 2nd, 2014
6:40 am

It would be nice if you would not reiterate stating “it would be nice”. It would be nice if you would also post blogs like this every day and eliminate the cut-and-paste. It would be nice as a professional journalist college graduate if you would proof read your material prior to posting it and eliminate all the spelling errors.

motherjanegoose

May 2nd, 2014
6:41 am

I think it is a bit hard to determine what is necessary based on a piece of paper. Kind of like hiring someone based on their resume and never meeting them. I call most of my clients and chat with them on the phone, after I send them my information. They typically tell me they can hear my enthusiasm and then they know they want to hire me.

Obviously, you cannot bring your kids along to sell themselves. I would not want to be in your shoes nor the teachers who are meeting with you. Do you have appointments?

My kids stayed in Gwinnett County schools all the way through. I have been in schools all over the country and they are very different.

I am trying to be kind here…your kids may be truly amazing and that is wonderful. Everyone thinks their kids are amazing…even me :). They are truly amazing if others are complimenting them too.
Will teachers write letters of recommendation for students, if they are headed to another state?

We just met one of the managers at our son’s place of employment. We were waiting for him and the manager did not know us. He was looking at us, as they were closing. I introduced myself and he said, “_____ is amazing…we love him.” I am happy knowing that he is doing his job.

We had some friends whose son went to Gwinnett Schools. The Dad was a Professor and took and job in Minnesota. The realtor showed them houses in the better areas in MSP. In my experience, some northerners think they know much more than southerners. This child was way ahead of his peers and did have problems finding classes he could take in HS in Minnesota. Even coming from the south. BTW I was born in Chicago but love the south.

Good luck and safe travels to you! I am teasing you but maybe Michael WANTED to be out of the country when you did this. I think my husband would too!

motherjanegoose

May 2nd, 2014
6:47 am

TWG…my daughter always liked to sing and has a good voice. I realized that the voice she had and the voice other HS girls had , in the chorus, was quite different. She was not the best nor even near it.
Sometimes you have to hear the voices of others, to chart your course. I wish you the best!

moved alot

May 2nd, 2014
7:18 am

First take a deep breath, and then get yourself a nice relaxing cup of tea (or your equivalent favorite beverage).

On the easy side – just let the second grader start second grade. They’ll figure out if she needs to be moved by level (if they even have that), and within a year it will be fine (and nothing that will harm her, no matter what).

For the middle-schoolers, how about starting with *asking* what the high school curriculum is for math (and other subjects)? What do average 9th graders start with? What about advanced or gifted (or whatever they call the tiers there)? Then you can say “Okay, this kid already had algebra so what is the next step?”. See what the NJ school says. They may do a test to see if mastering the subject in AZ is the same as in NJ. That’s fine – and probably your best bet if the school is willing to give a subject test to your kids once they get there. Basically, I suggest asking what is their pathway to the subjects you think your kids have had / should have and then see how what they already have fits in.

Bring the paperwork just in case you need it, to back up or document what they’ve taken, but start by seeing how the NJ system works first. Might just make the whole process go more smoothly. And if there are any questions, see if having current teachers write specific subject recommendations (or fill out questionnaires) might help. You can offer that, if your kids’ current teachers would agree.

Remember, you’re going into their system. It’s not going to adjust for you, and it may not fit perfectly at first or ever, but you’re looking for the best case you can have. And always helpful if you don’t alienate them by coming on too strong. But have what you need just in case so that the older kids don’t have to unnecessarily repeat subjects. On the other hand, keep them with their age group peers as much as possible since it’s a new place and they need to make friends. It’s a balance – good luck finding it.

FCM

May 2nd, 2014
7:43 am

I agree with those above. Go in asking them to tell you about their schools. Talk to the current (AZ) school counselors and see if they would be willing to call the NJ ones and talk to them. I did that just changing school districts here in GA. One of the first days of school my (then) 2nd grader saw the counselor from her previous school…she felt that person was there because of her. I said it is likely that she was there because she wants to make sure the school understands how they can help you learn.

SIDENOTE: 2nd grade was the most AWESOME teacher she has had in that school!

As to the Common Core idea…..H3%% NO! I think it is the worst idea on schooling yet. Thanks for asking! We would need many drinks and a long conversation all the reasons why.

malleesmom

May 2nd, 2014
7:50 am

Agree with Moved A Lot and Catlady. Having just gone through this…take a breath and let the school sell you rather than you sell your kids. Each school system is different. You did not mention whether the children are traveling with you or not. If they are, have them create a short list of questions that matter to them regarding their new school(s). We did this and it worked well for us. You can watch the shift of how staff/administrators interact and engage the kids.

We were nervous hearing that MN schools are top-5 blah blah., GA schools are considered “less than” especially to those up north (agree with MJG) For the record, there was little to no gap in the transition. Elementary is harder because of the single-classroom but it can be done. You just need to ask open ended questions about how schools adjust to high achieving, motivated children. What is their plan?

Would Common Core help….I doubt it. Education is not one-size-fits-all. I can say two years later, gifted vs not-gifted is no longer a factor. We figured out what each of the girls needed to be challenged and successful and they’re just fine. Test scores only tell so much. As long as they’re not blatantly repeating something, it will work out.

Bob

May 2nd, 2014
8:09 am

NJ is a unionized state. Your kids are screwed whichever way you go unless you go private.

HB

May 2nd, 2014
8:18 am

I agree with everyone else — dial it down. Advocate for your kids but find a way to be ok with the possibility that they may miss a few things and repeat a few things. When I moved in high school, I had to double up on social studies for a semester and drop band, read a couple of novels and plays for a second time, and missed Greek mythology completely because my two schools’ curriculum didn’t quite line up. Wasn’t the best year, but wasn’t horrific, and I still got into an excellent college. Your current idea of what’s necessary may not be the only way for your kids to get an excellent education, so be prepared to be flexible as needed. That’s life.

jarvis

May 2nd, 2014
8:38 am

Common Core is good in theory but not in practice (or in Constituional Law for that matter).

One set of standards for all isn’t going to work. Too many differences in children from place to place. We already hear that standardized tests are culturally biased; can’t imagine the outcry if scholastic achievement was starndardized as well.

As with everything government, there is too much outside influence on setting the “Core”. The best intentions in government are sidelined by agendas and greed.

iRun

May 2nd, 2014
8:46 am

Honestly, just stick them in their respective age-group classes. They’ll be fine and everyone will be less stressed.

The exact details of primary education in upper middle class kids don’t matter at all. They almost all turn out ahead of the curve based on the socioeconomics of their birth.

Public/Private at the primary level and even at the college level are absolutely equivalent. The only time it matters is grad school. Then you have to go to the school with a good rep in the area of study.

I’m perfectly serious. None of this angst matters. Your kids come from an educated, well-fed, and loving home. They will be fine.

jarvis

May 2nd, 2014
8:48 am

As for being “gifted”. This term pisses me off. You certainly want your children in classes that will challenge them, but lest we forget intelligence is just another of life’s tools.

Intelligent people like to believe that they are superior beings (they have been “gifted), and I won’t argue that it certainly gives them a leg up in some aspects of life. That said, other traits are just as likely to be predictors of success in life. Physical appearance, creativity, hand eye coordination, charisma and mechanical apptitude are all valuable traits that people have been “gifted” with.

iRun

May 2nd, 2014
8:48 am

I should mention that my recommendation is for kids without any special behavioral or learning needs.

Annie

May 2nd, 2014
9:22 am

Having being born & raised in Europe, the fact that education varies so much between states is quite baffling to me. Schools in Europe have a uniform curriculum and testing process. You could move from London to Liverpool or Paris to Cannes and step right into the classroom with minimal interruption to their education. Why is it so varied between states here?

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

May 2nd, 2014
9:28 am

Walsh was put in his grade level with gifted math and la for three years here. he was never challenged and didn’t learn much. This last year we moved him to a charter school called BASIS. Look it up. They have two of the top 10 high schools in America. He is working three years ahead in math, doing Classics, Latin, very advanced LA and science. The expectations at the school are tremendous but this has been the best match he has ever had. He is finally challenged and is actually having to work, but he is still mastering all the material. He has a high A cumulative GPA. Rose is taking all the advanced classes her school offers and is two years ahead in math. We have spent a lot of time and energy figuring out where everyone needs to be and you can’t place either of them at grade-level anything and hope it’s all going to work out. I do have rec letters from Walsh’s school and individual teachers and Rose’s teachers will do by the end of the year. Jarvis — I completely agree you can be literally a genius and be a loser. The kids have to use their intelligence and work. Problem is a lot of times they don’t find any challenges in school until much later and there is all kinds of research that shows that gifted boys who are uchallenged get into trouble and gifted girls just recede. They get lazy. I stand by my assessment of the teacher here. My initial impression was correct and I was very happy to get Walsh out of that program. He is loved and appreciated at his new school and finally, finally challenged. Finally in the right place. I am heartbroken to leave his school as much as i am thrilled to leave Arizona. My youngest appears to be a much more typical learner where grade levels will probably be OK. I’m not completely sure about her yet. She has other skills that the big kids don’t have. They are all at different schools here to match their learning needs.

Catherine

May 2nd, 2014
9:34 am

Einstein in the 5th grade was graded as “Normal” and not gifted. John Lennon was labeled a zero all throughout school. The most important traits for kids future success is drive and ambition.

Children are like every other human age demographic – a few winners, a whole bunch of losers.

jarvis

May 2nd, 2014
9:41 am

@Annie UK has a population of less than twice the size of California, the diversity of Fargo, tax rates around 50% and an effing Queen still suckling off the teet of its citizens.

Apples to oranges in terms of what we will give and take from the Federal government.

moved alot

May 2nd, 2014
9:44 am

So it seems like the goal is to find schools that match the two older kids – looking for a charter or private school that lets kids have subjects ahead of their age, but not necessarily having them skip the grades themselves – especially for Walsh. Can his current school suggest schools in NJ that are comparable? They should be able to, honestly. And even if things don’t line up 100%, he’d still be likely to be challenged.

And “grade level” doesn’t mean a single track. Most grades have multiple levels of content and instruction if they’re large enough, and if not then charter or private is always an option.

But I still think that you should go in asking what they have to offer and how kids are tracked or assigned into specific levels of classes. Let them know where you’re coming from and see if they have suggestions of alternates if they can’t fulfill what your kids need (schools like Kittridge /Chamblee Middle / Chamblee Charter here come to mind).

All that said, you’re still an unknown to them and they should be selling their schools not you demanding they fit your kid. Your original post came across as very demanding, while the follow-up was able to give more context. But I think the point to remember is you want your kids challenged. Challenged might be challenged in some classes but maybe with a repeat or so. If they’re with peers who are at similar levels and all are working hard then really, honestly, that’s probably good enough. Big picture – your kids will be fine.

jarvis

May 2nd, 2014
9:46 am

TWG, Moving in general is a pain in the ass. I feel bad that you’re having to uproot again.
I hope the transition is easier on your kids this go around.

iRun

May 2nd, 2014
9:49 am

I have a feeling I touched a nerve. Just chalk it up to different parenting styles.

I stand by my recommendation. And I say this as the mother of a “highly-gifted” 7th grader. Sure, he’s in all the advanced classes at his public school. Sure, he gets bored and isn’t always challenged at school. But he gets most of his personal intellectual challenges outside of school. He’s reads a lot, takes piano, and spends the rest of his time outside trying to learn to do a hop 180 on his BMX bike.

So, yeah, I disagree with your statement that “you can’t place either of them at grade-level anything and hope it’s all going to work out”. You can.

If your kids has special needs, and I include being a true genius in this category, then by all means you need to pursue the most optimal option so they can grow to be functional or successful adults.

But if your kid is the run-of-the-mill gifted kid I think you’re wringing yourself out over nothing.

And in case you’re wondering what kind of people my husband and I are…I have an advanced degree in Math and my husband is a profession in physiology. So, it’s not like either of us are intellectual slouches. From that standpoint I feel like all this hand-wringing you’re doing is going to accomplish little and cause an ulcer (to use an old-fashioned term).

HB

May 2nd, 2014
9:57 am

“We have spent a lot of time and energy figuring out where everyone needs to be and you can’t place either of them at grade-level anything and hope it’s all going to work out.”

Ok, let’s look at this a bit more closely. I totally get that you want your kids to have the education that suits them best, and I sincerely hope that they will be challenged in school. But what if you don’t find everything they want or need in the public school system? What if they do have to do some grade-level stuff? What does not working out look like? Do you think taking a few classes you feel are beneath their abilities will lead to them dropping out? Becoming severely depressed? Rebelling, dying their hair hot pink, and piercing everything?

I went to college and grad school with a lot of really smart people and now know a lot of really smart people in high level jobs in what is possibly the nerdiest city in the country. Some of those folks had truly excellent educations in public and private schools before college, but most of us just had pretty good. I had a few excellent classes in South GA and a lot of mediocre ones or good ones that I could have taken a few years earlier. Sometimes I was bored and had to seek out my own challenges, and I did have to scramble a bit freshman year college to catch up in some subjects, but it worked out. Good education is very important and I get why you want the best for your kids, but millions and millions of students do not attend top-10 middle schools or have access to what your kids have in AZ. Obviously your kids are gifted, but they don’t sound like super-geniuses ready to go off to college at age 12 or anything. They sound like most of the people I went to college and grad school with. Get them in the most advanced classes you can and supplement what you can outside the classroom, but drop the attitude that a perfect match to their learning needs is the only way they’ll reach their maximum potential — it’s not good for you or them. Also, it’s worth noting that the challenge of being in a situation that’s not perfectly suited to them can bring it’s own good learning experiences.

Annie

May 2nd, 2014
9:58 am

@ Jarvis – I wasn’t just referring to the UK. It’s across the board. And you cannot argue that they education levels are higher in Europe/Australia/Asia.

I just don’t understand why the education differs so much between states, making it difficult for children to adapt easily. It’s bad enough to be the “new kid” anywhere, but if said new kid is at a different (aka lower) grade level than their peers it’s another avenue to bully the kid. Why not just switch to a standardized curriculum across the board and have everyone on a level playing field?

iRun

May 2nd, 2014
10:00 am

jarvis

May 2nd, 2014
10:18 am

@Annie, You’re talking from a completely different perspective.

I don’t see the solution to better education as a once size fits all approach with Big Brother dictating what is taught in every classroom in the country, especially not as long as Big Brother has publishing companies and their lobbyists making campaign donations while pushing their products.

TWG, it really doesnt' matter...

May 2nd, 2014
10:33 am

…what your kids do in elementary, middle, high school, college or grad school – yes, it is good if they get a good foundation for moving forward, but in the overall scheme of higher education grade level placement in 5th – 8th grade is not that big a deal. Yes, kids get bored; yes, some kids are brighter than others, and it up TO THE PARENTS to keep them stimulated and motivated – plus, it is up to the kids themselves to keep motivated.

As to my basis for the above statements you have to look no further than your own bedroom to see who has attained employment stature and life fulfilling successes WAY ABOVE his UGA based education….motivation is the key!!!!!

iRun

May 2nd, 2014
10:45 am

what HB said

K's Mom

May 2nd, 2014
11:37 am

@TWG…you are moving to NJ or NY with kids who started to school in Gwinnett County, GA. Take everything with you. We moved from Gwinnett to the Philadelphia area when I was in the 6th grade and as soon as they heard us speak they wanted to put me in remedial classes. It was reviewing my standardized test scores and my teacher mom fighting for me that led me to be put in the advanced classes. Their opinion will be that even a stop in Phoenix will not have caught your kids up. You are a little more high strung thatn I am, but in this case fight for your kids. I will be SHOCKED if you do not have to.

justmy2cents

May 2nd, 2014
11:45 am

My niece moved down here from PA a few years ago. When she enrolled in school, she was 1 year ahead. She only stayed 1 year and went back to PA. She was then 2 years behind. So there definitely is a difference. I do agree with the others though, no need to go in guns blazing. Wait and see the approach the school takes first.

Atlanta Mom

May 2nd, 2014
12:08 pm

TWG–”my son needs algebra in sixth grade and my daughter needs geometry in eighth.”
Good thing you aren’t moving to Georgia. We don’t offer classes like that anymore.

xxx

May 2nd, 2014
12:15 pm

Atlnata Mom, speak for yourself, my kids get both of those classes and more in our private school.

beth

May 2nd, 2014
12:42 pm

Seems strange that even Georgia schools differ so much from each other. My daughter’s gifted class just started learning algebra in the 2nd grade (in South Forsyth county). I’m not sure, but I wouldn’t be suprised if they are doing full algebra next year in 3rd grade.

SEE

May 2nd, 2014
1:10 pm

Algebra and Geometry are integrated into the curriculum starting in 1st grade. I teach 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th grade math, and algebra can be found in all of them at varying levels.. Even in high school, we don’t have “algebra” anymore, it’s coordinate algebra…which combines a lot of geometry. In 10th we have analytical geometry, which starts getting into some calculus. Students who show promise in math in 5th grade are placed in advanced math, so that coordinate algebra is taken 8th…so they are essentially a year ahead. Also, you must understand that schools curriculum depends on the area. A school in North Fulton is going to be ahead of a school in rural GA. We have schools here in GA that run circles around schools in PA, and visa versa. You can look at school ratings to see that.

RJ

May 2nd, 2014
1:23 pm

The curriculum in Georgia is actually pretty rigorous. I was surprised at the questions on CRCT this year. There is a lot of geometry and algebra on that test. We are NOT at the bottom, and there are many articles that show the data to support that statement. @Atlanta Mom, geometry is offered to advanced students in many school systems. I can’t speak for all school systems, but I do know that many do offer it.

I suggest going into the school and meeting with a counselor, and possibly teachers to learn what the school offers. I have found that “advanced” many different things to different people.

motherjanegoose

May 2nd, 2014
2:27 pm

@ SEE ” A school in North Fulton is going to be ahead of a school in rural GA. We have schools here in GA that run circles around schools in PA, and visa versa. You can look at school ratings to see that.” This is so true. I have been in lots of school settings and they are all different. How can all schools be the same, if families are not.

I heard someone say this a few weeks ag: “truth is something that is the same everywhere.”
People and schools are not.

it'skinderGARTEN dammit

May 2nd, 2014
3:11 pm

It sounds like your kids were doing remarkably well in their Arizona schools. While I certainly understand your husband’s professional goals and ambitions, and your desire to support those, this does show that following those has a cost. I am a firm believer in stability for kids and although a majority of that comes from inside the home, the part that is external is not insignificant.
Your youngest will be fine. The older two probably will be as well, but I would expect some scars. They are at an in-between age where they feel loss as strongly as an adult, but have no power of self determination. I would expect they feel as they had no vote in all of this. Things can go waaaaay off track in the tween years and by the time life calms down again, they could find themselves in a serious personal/academic hole.

Sometimes what is best for one is not always best for the family as a whole. I hope this is not the case with your family and I wish you the best.

Common Core is Rotten

May 2nd, 2014
3:51 pm

You have no idea how CC has disrupted and disgruntled my elementary school peers. Many want to leave teaching all together if Common Core stays. Many that are close to retirement have just given up, I have never seen that sort of desperation before now. Like No Child Left Behind, let’s ALL hope it goes out with Obama like NCLB was with Bush. CC is MUCH WORSE than NCLB.

missnadine

May 2nd, 2014
5:21 pm

First, you should have postponed a couple of days and flown to Paris to be with your husband. Why are you stuck with all the bad stuff? A long weekend in Paris would have been great for the two of you knowing how stressful the next few would be. You could have pawned the kids to your parents or in-laws. Michael must have miles saved up. I was lucky in my career and travelled to 30+ countries. I amassed a ton of miles, and one of the best parts of flying a lot is the opportunity to use those miles for a trip with just the husband – no kids allowed! I’ve been to Paris at least 15 times in my prior role. I love that city and you would as well, especially given your literary background.

You have a few fans that get crazy is someone disagrees with you, but in this case you can see that there are a lot of well-intended people who agree that you need to chill a bit. It is almost as if you work yourself into a frenzy. If I were a school administrator and you came in with that attitude I would be turned off. I wonder if maybe you came across as talking down to them – not on purpose – but maybe all the stress from everything else (the move, the travel) made you appear too aggressive. I agree with a lot of posters regarding the use of the term “gifted” and I think it is one of those words that is overused to the point that it has become almost meaningless. I like Irun’s point of view about balance as well.

It seems like your resentment is growing as well. You knew what would happen when Michael took that role but I think maybe part of what you are doing now, working yourself into such a high level of stress for example, is maybe to make him feel bad. Everything is snowballing for you and I hope it gets better.

beth

May 3rd, 2014
2:23 pm

@ Common Core is Rotten – Though I am not a big CC supporter, I worry that switching curriculums every few years, with each administration as you suggest, will be massively detrimental to the kids (and teachers). My kids are very early in the educational careers (kindergarten and 2nd grade), but they seem to be completely fine with how they are learning math. I’m guessing that’s because because they really haven’t known any other way.

Although, I don’t know how to do it, it kind of makes sense to me to teach kids multiple ways to get to the same answer. I think in the end, they will learn that problem solving isn’t just a one way or the highway. I think common core can be a good thing if we give it a chance. It is certainly better than no child left behind because which was more of a “only 1 right way” type of style. I think multiple “right ways” allows for a wider spectrum of learning differences.

I see this play out in my dyslexic husband every day. He could not do the “1 right way system” and ended up being pushed to a vocational school for high school in the 80s. He worked in a factory for a few years, tried college but again, the “only 1 right way ” system blocked his success. He instead found success thru the outside the box or multiple right ways system. He now works in IT in a fortune 10 company. He gets alot of push back from his degreed colleagues (many of them Ivy leaguers) that he doesn’t do things the “right way” or “by the book”. But for the last 5 years running, he has gotten an extra sizeable bonus for solving problems that no one else could because they kept trying to fit the square peg into the round hole. My point in mentioning all of this… is that one of the main principles of Common Core is that there is more than 1 way to solve a problem. I can’t imagine what it would be like when in 3 or 5 or 7 years, a new system suddenly tells them that they can no longer solve problems that way… even though they are getting the right answers. 1 way isn’t always the best way.

@ beth

May 3rd, 2014
3:06 pm

It is much, much more complicated than the simplistic idea of learning the right way, multiple ways. Bottom line is kids like yours will most likely “get it”, but it slows the learning process down quite significantly for the average and above kids. From what I have heard so far is it also confuses and frustrates those kids that it is really suppose to help, the under performers. Further more is is a nightmare for teachers for all they normally had to do this just add so much more to their already full plate.

Common Core is no different that any other politically correct initiative in that it is suppose to help the below average performers succeed. So far Common Core is already doing the exact opposite. When the first year results show the below average child is held back a grade, parents on a national level are going to be vocal opponents.

I hope I am wrong but from everything I see and hear the fallout is going to be swift.

@ beth

May 3rd, 2014
3:16 pm

PS. Kudos to your husband. However, the entire picture you painted from start to finish shows he is the exception to the rule. The big key to his success is most likely his parents and their support. The vast majority of these kids do not have that type of support and that is biggest determining factor in education. Common Core cannot change that fact.

mother of 2

May 4th, 2014
5:12 pm

I moved quite a bit when my kids were young and I sympathize with you. It can be stressful and I understand that you simply want the kids placed correctly so that they will have as little disruption as possible. NJ had the best schools compared to the many other states we passed through. I hope that makes you feel a bit better. Teachers’ Unions did not harm my kids in any way. The teachers were forbidden to strike, and we never had a problem.

I agree with many of the above posters re: letting the school figure it out. I’d bring copies of syllabi and encourage the schools to test your kids if you disagree with their placement. I found that my kids were ahead in some subjects, and behind in others. They managed to even out by the end of the first semester, but neither of mine were as ahead as your son. I must say that my kids appreciated when they were ahead in a subject because it allowed them to feel self confident. They could also focus on making friends in the classes that were easy for them, as opposed to feeling the stress of being behind.

Remember that teachers, administrators, and parents should all have the same goal when it comes to educating your children. Speak up if you feel like you all aren’t on the same page. The beauty of people in NJ is that they openly speak their mind and bluntness is appreciated.

I definitely have rose colored glasses on re: common core. I want it to be the answer to the difficulty moving around presents. I’ll be interested to hear how this turns out for your children.

FCM

May 5th, 2014
7:41 am

TWG–while you are in Atlanta you need to update your blog photo again :)

beth

May 5th, 2014
9:02 am

@ @beth – educational support from his parents is where you would be wrong. Where we grew up, there is not a culture of importance placed on education…. which is the sole we don’t live there anymore.

My husband was very much loved by his parents, but neither one of them graduated from high school (same for my parents). Both my husband and I grew up in applachia where coal is king and both of our father’s were coal miners. Still today, education is not considered a priority where we grew up. High school football is first. Then getting a job in the mines/factories. When I convinced my husband that he needed to leave that area, and he told his parents that he was enrolling in college, they were VERY UNSUPPORTIVE. His dad was actaully ANGRY because in his mind, why would you “waste” money when you could go straight to work in a factory or coal mine earning money. That is the overall mindset/cultural norm. Where we grew up very few go to college. I am the only person in my entire extended (including back to 2nd and 3rd cousins) to even go to college. Although, our father’s are retired…. Still today, my husband’s identical twin brother works in the mines, my sister’s husband works in the mines and we each have several uncles still working in the mines.

My husband’s identical twin brother is also dyslexic and has a very high IQ. But in the 70s, there was not all of these different levels of learning like we have today. Back then, you either “got it” or they put kids who did not learn to read and write easily in with mentally disabled children (literally mental retardation classes) and his parents supported it… because they didn’t think it was appropriate to question authority. How’s that for support? It changed the trajectory of his life. My husband “compensated” in the classroom as long as he could and then he was shipped off to vocational school. I also beleive that my husband’s father is dyslexic and didn’t know it. They were trapped in this “only 1 right way” to solve problems system. My 8 year old is dyslexic. She is doing well in math… not because I’m any help to her, but because she has a learning difference and is allowed to choose how she can solve a problem. This is HUGE and has the potential to help alot of people.

Personally, I think we haven’t given CC it enough chance to work. The “underperformers” were doing poorly under the old system (grouping by ability), then No Child Left Behind (no grouping allowed because everyone is a robot and learns the same)… still did poorly. Now a system that FINALLY allows for some choice and learning differences… and everyone hates that too??????? Beyond frustrated!! I would argue that there is always going to be a segment of the population that are “underperformers”. As sad as that is, it is true. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to help them, but we can’t ignore the potential gains that choice in problem solving will bring to our brightest minds. I think my husban’s situtaion wouldn’t be the “exception” as you say. We would see a whole lot more of his type of situation played out…. people attacking a problem from different angles…. only this time it would be because that’s what they have been TAUGHT to do via Common Core. I pray that politics doesn’t sink this boat before it’s even had a chance to set sail.

Anyway… that’s what common core means to me.

EdUktr

May 5th, 2014
10:35 am

If you’re one of those who still trust edu-crats with your children’s future …

You’ll probably be pleased John Barge’s campaign received free column space in an AJC education blog this morning—along with a promotional paean by the editor (who later thought better and took the paean down, along with related reader comments).

beth

May 5th, 2014
1:00 pm

My kid is in public school… so obviously I trust the system. It’s not a bad system for everyone… just a certain segment of the population otherwise known as the “underperformers”. There is no system that will work for both. Either the best and brightest are being underchallenged or the underperformers are being over-challenged. It’s a no-win. If we under challenge the best and brightest, we end up losing in the global economy due to lack of skills needed to compete. They become average and dim. If we over challenge the underperformers, they drop out or are socially promoited and we end up with a bunch of criminals. Some may move up to the average and dim category but it’s still a NO-WIN. Comon core allows for a little choice in learning is the only point I was making. I’d like to at least give it a chance.

It seems like the target goal of some is to bring the top down and the bottom up so everyone can be average and dim. Sad.

April

May 5th, 2014
3:19 pm

TWG – Calm down. I know you want what is best for your kids, but as so many have said you need to calm down and stop expecting the worst. I think you will accomplish more if you go in with at attitude of seeing what they have to offer instead of demanding things that may not be possible and implying that the school’s services are inferior. “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”

As for “gifted”, I think most children are gifted in one way or another. I teach at a private school, and almost every year I get students from other schools who are classified as “gifted.” The parents spend a great deal of time telling me that I am going to have to work really hard to challenge their child. After a few months I am often attending a conference to discuss why the child is unsuccessful. It often has to do with gaps in the child’s ability that become obvious as the child gets older. Strengths and weaknesses change over time.

I have also taught numerous children who were moved ahead a grade because they were so far ahead of their peers. I have only taught one child for whom I felt it was the right move. Being in a class with kids who are much older (which may be the only way to accommodate some of your demands) is often more detrimental to the child than the horror of “being bored” in a class with more similar aged students.

Relax and focus on some of the great things your new schools and community have to offer.

Hidden Agenda

May 5th, 2014
6:36 pm

Homeschool. Then you know exactly where they are at and what they need to learn. Best of all, your children don’t have to suffer simply because the current government school system is garbage, inflexible, or crime-ridden. But that makes too much sense I know.

missnadine

May 5th, 2014
11:21 pm

@mother of 2 -your advice is excellent.

Common Sense is Not Common

May 6th, 2014
10:33 am

beth: “It seems like the target goal of some is to bring the top down and the bottom up so everyone can be average and dim. Sad.”
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So beth, you make this statement and you WANT common core? Your statement above is exactly what is going to happen WITH Common Core. Common Core dumbs it down for ALL.

Common Core won’t work because our country is TOO diverse, we are no longer a one size fits all society. Our students will never out pace other single culture countries like China because we dont look like China. The US has no common value system. We used to be a melting pot in the US, but know we are ENTITLED elitists that want to be politically correct and embrace every culture that moves into the US. That melting pot is now a toxic waste dump, and the rest of the World knows it is happening to our country. The US is no longer the gold standard that everyone wants to acheive, other countries are learning from our mistakes as WE CONTINUE to make grave mistakes.

Common Sense is Not Common

May 6th, 2014
10:37 am

Comon core allows for a little choice in learning is the only point I was making. I’d like to at least give it a chance.

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Sorry beth, that is so STUPID and you have NO IDEA WTH you are talking about!!!!