So, let’s get down to core of Common Core: ‘Rigor’
I was fortunate to attend a forum at Sam’s Auditorium recently in which a panel of educators and organizers brought the discussion of the pros and cons of the Common Core National Standards. Common Core is here in Georgia, sanctioned by Governor Nathan Deal, which is now mandated to all public schools in this state.
What was interesting for me were the highly degreed individuals who are currently working in school administration today and of course who represented the pro Common Core side of the panel.
The forum included Georgia School Board Association representative Angela Palm, Kedron Elementary School Principal Julie Turner, Fayetteville Elementary School Principal Kim Herron, state School Superintendent John Barge, Concerned Women of America state director Tanya Ditty, American Principles Project Senior Fellow Jane Robbins and Cobb County Board of Education member Kathleen Angelucci.
All the big long words were flying around and lots of support expressed from educators around the country. The word that I personally didn’t know about was the word “rigor.”
Finally a question was asked of the panel to explain what rigor means. Here is an explanation of this hot buzz word: “Rigor is more than what you teach and what standards you cover; it’s how you teach and how students show you they understand. True rigor is creating an environment in which each student is expected to learn at high levels, each student is supported so he or she can learn at high levels, and each student demonstrates learning at high levels (Blackburn, 2008).”
Okay, sounds reasonable for Fayette County Schools. Right? Let’s break it down.
· Create an environment that is conducive to growth
· Focus on exceptional expectations
· Supporting students so they can reach high expectations
· Provide a way for each student to demonstrate learning
Wait a minute; I thought that’s what teachers do already. Haven’t teachers, throughout history, encouraged students not to give up, encouraged them to learn, be positive while they’re taking baby steps in intellectual growth? Are not our students demonstrating their learning capabilities through the Georgia Performance Standards?
The teachers that educated my son here in Fayette County did a fantastic job. The teachers in K-12 created a learning environment, focused on exceptional expectations, and he was supported by teachers who filled in his gaps, and I can’t thank them enough. So what is all this hubbub about?
I put my researcher’s hat on and started listening, asking questions, went online and read. Now understanding the buzzword of rigor and the correlation to the Common Core National Standards, my mind is spinning.
My favorite online site is Stop Common Core.com. I have joined the Concerned Citizens for Excellent Education (CCEE) right here in Fayetteville.
The panel didn’t explain enough for me, nor did my research. So, here are a few more questions. How will the Common Core National Standard really test rigor? How will the teachers provide rigor in the classrooms more than what they’ve done in these past years?
If indeed rigor is here now, what was the buzz word when “No Child Left Behind” took effect, or “Race to the Top”? Did they work? What is the curriculum that goes with rigor? When do parents get to see the actual curriculum; is it books or programs for computerized learning grades K-12? Are there manuals that teachers use 2012-2014 that parents can look at? Who really is writing the standards, and who is writing the curriculum?
For me, what it comes down to is that rigor is nothing more than a word. It’s the hot buzz word that educators are flailing around today to make this sound all just so wonderful and all for the child. A better educated child and more in line with the country.
I see nothing for or about the children in this documentation and determined that it’s all about government control, and money.
Rigor, statistics, common, standards, government, mandated, rigor, money, waivers, rigor, rigor ... stop, please; we must bring back parent and state sovereignty of deciding what is right for Georgia’s children and the education path to take.
My sweet Texan dad would say, “This is all hog wash!” I say, let’s put this whole issue on “pause,” Gov. Deal, until all of us know and understand much more about Common Core and rigor.
B.A., Early Childhood Education