Niagara Gazette


December 16, 2013

CONFER: Common Core devalues creativity


Niagara Gazette — Common Core’s original plan was to divide the eighth-grade curriculum along the lines of 55 percent nonfiction and 45 percent fiction. That isn’t what is being enforced. Nor is it what students and teachers alike are being graded on. Last year’s Grade 8 ELA test was 79 percent nonfiction and 21 percent fiction, a far cry from what was sold to the schools.

I shudder to think what employers Achieve Inc. consulted before proceeding in this manner. As a businessman, I want people working with me, inside my company and outside of it, who can think on their feet, think creatively, react positively to the circumstances before them, and thoughtfully ponder how to make their lives easier and their customers’ experience better.

With creativity stifled in their formative years, they will be unable to perform as well as one would hope in the workplace.

As a parent, I can’t help but wonder how Common Core will help my daughter at all when the time comes. I spend much time thinking about how my wife and I will be investing considerably more effort into her intellectual development to overcome what Common Core doesn’t give her.

What it could give her can be pretty scary.

Consider an assignment given to third-grade students at various school districts across the United States. After reading the following text, students were asked to complete an exercise in which the solutions can only be provided by making logical inferences and explaining how they got their answers:

“Ruby sat on the bed she shared with her husband holding a hairclip. There was something mysterious and powerful about the cheaply manufactured neon clip that she was fondling in her newly suspicious palms. She didn’t recognize the hairclip. It was too big to be their daughter’s, and Ruby was sure that it wasn’t hers. She hadn’t had friends over in weeks but here was this hairclip, little and green with a few long black hair strands caught in it. Ruby ran her fingers through her own blonde hair. She had just been vacuuming when she noticed this small, bright green object under the bed. Now their life would never be the same. She would wait here until Mike returned home.”

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