A Tennessee Teacher Shares Her Concerns About Common Core

This article was submitted by Lucianna Sanson, a Franklin County native, who has been teaching English Language Arts for the Franklin County public school system since graduating from Sewanee. Currently, she teaches British Literature and AP Literature at Franklin County High School. The views expressed are hers alone and do not represent the views of her employer.

I was contacted and asked to write an article about why I am not a fan of Common Core – or – more specifically, the “TN Core Standards.” As I was trying to decide what to say, I ran across an interview with Diane Ravitch in Salon. As I read the interview, I realized that her reasons for disliking the Common Core are the same as my reasons. So, without further ado, here are the wise words of Diane Ravitch- edited down to focus specifically on the Common Core bit.

“The fact is, we have no evidence that the Common Core standards are what we say they are until we’ve tried them. They haven’t been tried anywhere, they’ve been tested — and we know that where they’re tested, they cause massive failure. So I would say we need to have more time before we can reach any judgment that they have some miracle cure embedded in them.

I know, and a lot of teachers know, they’re totally inappropriate for children in kindergarten, first grade, second grade and third grade, because when they were written there was no one on various writing committees who was an expert in early childhood education… They’re also totally inappropriate for children who have disabilities — they can’t keep up. There’s an assumption in the Common Core that if you teach everybody the same thing, everybody will progress at the same speed. And that’s not human nature. It doesn’t work that way.

“… Common Core standards should be decoupled from the testing …the standards need to be reviewed by expert teachers, and wherever a fix is needed, fix them. That’s my position. I’m not opposed to them, I’m opposed to them in their current form, and I’m opposed to the standardized testing that’s linked to them.


I couldn’t have said it better myself. Make sure you click the link, read the article, and share Diane’s words of wisdom.

For more from Lucianna Sanson, follow her on Twitter @Lucianna_Sanson

5 thoughts on “A Tennessee Teacher Shares Her Concerns About Common Core

  1. Well said. I agree with you on the standards issue. The CCSS were not written in a way that shows any understanding of child cognitive development. Thank you for your well articulated statement.

  2. Here’s the one thing that bothers me about the Core, about testing kids to death, and teaching to the test (you all know that’s what’s happening more and more…) :

    It’s becoming so obvious that “stakeholders and policymakers” are trying to create a Teaching Population of Cookie Cutter Teachers. They are taking out any opportunities for creativity and innovation on behalf of the classroom teacher, taking away any chances for incidental teaching moments that allow for our students’ creativity.

    If allowed to continue, it won’t even be necessary to have a Certification to teach. All the lessons will be laid out, cookie-cutter style, so that every standard is aligned with some test or another, and any Automaton Teacher is able to just read from the book and proctor the End of Term exams.

    I’m sad to say it, but many teachers are falling into that trap already. Between trying to meet every expectation of the Core Standards, trying to jump through every hoop on a
    7-8 page evaluation several times a school year, and being under every microscope that a school administration can throw at them, teachers have less and less time or energy for creativity.

    If we want an entire generation of Automaton Students, fine. If we want just anybody who can read teaching our children and young people, fine. But if we want productive, creative individuals who will bloom into wonderful adults, we need to really fight this trend of testing and drilling.

  3. Just a few thoughts:
    1) Kentucky has been implementing Common Core going on four years now. It’s unfair to say that they haven’t been tried.
    2) Every new set of harder standards produces a significant drop in test scores. Look at the revised ELA, Math, and Science tests from 2010. Scores plummeted because no one knew what to expect. CCSS will bring about the same. Acknowledge it and then learn from it, but let’s not say that test score decreases are a reason to delay implementation.
    3) By now experts in early literacy have seen the standards. I personally know one working with TNCore to help implement the new standards, in fact.
    4) Students with disabilities can’t keep up? Were they keeping up with any set of standards? Isn’t that why they have an IEP, because they aren’t progressing at a “normal” rate? Isn’t that what makes us professionals: making adjustments to instruction to be sure they keep up?
    5) By now, the standards have been reviewed by experts. I’m in favor of unlinking them from the testing that everyone thinks is linked to them. The standards themselves don’t really lend themselves well to tests, per se; I could see portfolios or projects, but tests? Not the best way to gauge complex learning.

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