Common Core standards hurt Louisiana students

Daniel Horowitz, Staff Writer

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The following is an opinion article, and opinion articles do not reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.

Requiring a Common Core curriculum is not the right method of education for Louisiana public schools. According to the Common Core State Standards Initiative, 43 states and Washington have adopted a new, rigorous set of math and language arts standards since 2009. The intention of this system was to help students in public schools succeed in both educational and post-educational settings. These standards, however, will not benefit Louisiana students and teachers.

Louisiana students currently rank No. 44 in language arts and No. 46 in math in the nation. To improve learning outcomes, the state adopted a higher set of Louisiana specific standards. The state specific standards represent a more locally controlled educational standard in contrast to the national Common Core.

Since Common Core standards are specific, teachers are not allowed the flexibility they may need to adapt to the students. The standards were made to be generic in an effort to reach many students. The generic nature inhibits that goal. All students are different, and Common Core standards do not take into account the existence of different needs for different students. Further, Common Core’s focus on students exhibiting competency in standards before being allowed to move on to the next standard may punish students who in reality need additional support to succeed. 

Many of the same arguments about the negative effects on students can be said for teachers. Each teacher has a different personality and different teaching style. The Common Core standards are so rigid that they prevent teachers from using their differences to personalize their teaching methods. Instead the standards force teachers to spend class time focusing on teaching to the standards that will be on standardized tests. While Common Core is supposed to be more lax than many existing state curricula in allowing teachers to adapt curriculum specifically to their classroom, there is a lack of clarity in how this will be achieved during implementation. 

Further, Common Core encourages classroom sizes to grow. Since the standards are meant to target entire groups of students, there is no problem having many students in one classroom. Teachers should be able to have classroom sizes that let them target each student individually and cater to their needs so that no one gets lost while learning difficult material.

Instead of funneling money into the standards, funds should be put toward the schools and the teachers themselves. This way, we can afford to have smaller class sizes. According to The National Council of Teachers of English, smaller class sizes are beneficial since students are more engaged and schools can retain more effective teachers. 

Common Core is certainly fueled with good intentions. There is another way, however, that can help improve students’ performance in Louisiana and ensure their education is more personal. By giving the money that is budgeted to be spent on Common Core to the schools and teachers, Louisiana can improve education while also making sure it accommodates its students. In the end, students should be the focus.

 

Daniel Horowitz is a freshman in the Newcomb-Tulane College. He can be reached for comment at [email protected]