A Teacher's Lament About Common Core

The pushback against Common Core curriculum standards continues, spreading in ways the proponents may not have expected. Call it yet another example of the Law of Unintended Consequences coming into play.

Parents have certainly been aghast at what Common Core will do to the schools their children attend. But you know it's getting bad when teachers see it for what it is – a path to the destruction of what few good public schools we still have. One such teacher, Gerald J. Conti, saw where it was leading and decided enough was enough, tendering his resignation in frustration after 27 years of teaching at Westhill High School in Syracuse, NY.

Conti explained how he devoted his free time immersed in research, always wanting to be on top of the topics covered in his classroom, but “never feeling satisfied” that he knew enough.

“I now find that this approach to my profession is not only devalued, but denigrated and perhaps, in some quarters despised,” he wrote. “STEM rules the day and ‘data driven’ education seeks only conformity, standardization, testing and a zombie-like adherence to the shallow and generic Common Core, along with a lockstep of oversimplified so-called Essential Learnings. Creativity, academic freedom, teacher autonomy, experimentation and innovation are being stifled in a misguided effort to fix what is not broken in our system of public education and particularly not at Westhill.”

“After writing all of this I realize that I am not leaving my profession, in truth, it has left me,” he wrote.

I've known a lot of teachers like Conti, going the extra mile to make sure his students get the education they deserve. Some teachers were good. Some were great. They were the ones who made learning interesting. But Common Core is stripping that away, trying to remake our public schools into little more than one-size-fits-all education factories, and not very good ones at that.

Will this be one of the last nails in the coffin containing the corpse of our public schools? And if that is the case, why should we be forced to fund something that is nothing more than a system that will create students who are less educated than their predecessors but more indoctrinated to conform with a political ideology that fosters government dependence and narrowness of thought? Better that we burn the public schools to the ground rather than let them be used to destroy our society from within.

The more I read and hear about Common Core, the more I am convinced school vouchers, private schools, and home/online schooling may be the only answer to the push by our 'betters', the only way ensure our kids become well educated and free-thinking members of our society and not drones in a socialist dystopia.