Common Crap

preface: This will probably go through a few changes before I request to speak at the December school board meeting, but it’s about time to voice my opinion monthly in these meetings in support of teachers and against Common Core.


commoncoreSchool board members, Superintendent Rodgers, parents and most importantly teachers, thank you for allowing me a few minutes to voice my concerns that we face here in Oakley.

Since raising my hand at my first PTA meeting to volunteer, 4 years ago I have been engaged in my son’s education. Spending time helping in his classrooms with some excellent educators and volunteering my time at PTA events! The experience has been invaluable in his development.

Now 4 years later I fulfill the duties of Treasurer at Vintage Parkway, as well as a slew of other responsibilities, for the kids, for the teachers.

At home I am able to spend time helping my son with homework and answering questions based on information I gained from his teachers. Unfortunately, I am now being challenged to keep pace with the introduction of Common Core.

I remember last year I had to ask a classroom aid how to solve a basic arithmetic problem, as I didn’t have any idea about the methods they were using. Unfortunately, to many parents, there is nothing common about how to solve a basic arithmetic equation.

It’s unfortunate the district isn’t providing teachers the required resources to make common core successful. I for one won’t be surprised when my son’s test scores aren’t where they should be. Teachers are spending their money and valuable time learning methods in order to teach common core. Student’s who don’t understand the concepts could seemingly get left behind.

I have spoke to many parents and a common theme is forming. There is nothing common about common core. Parents are asking me how to do the math homework so they can better help their child. A few friends have hired tutors, again the lack of resources provided to teachers would help remedy this situation.

The implementation of common core reeks of a rushed implementation into our school district. Simple arithmetic is no longer simple, leading to further struggles at home. Kids are no longer being asked to solve a problem, but understand what they are doing, be a problem solver, a thinker. Many of these methods appear complicated and at times I have questioned if it’s appropriate for the grade level.

While I won’t support common core, I will accept it and do my best to keep up with the learning process in order benefit my son. I think it was best summed up in an article in The Atlantic, “some math programs strive to teach students to think like “little mathematicians” before giving them the analytic tools they need to actually solve problems.”

I also want to give teachers in the district my support in their fight for a fair contract. It’s appalling to sit in these board meetings the past few months and hear the passionate speeches being made. To think a teacher, with a credential and a Master’s degree is struggling to make ends meet each month. That is absolutely ridiculous!

These individuals should not be paid at 2007 wages, nor should OUTA be ranked 14th out of 16th districts in the East Bay. If the district wants to keep teachers in the district, pay them what they are deserved. Free up some of that reserve money and give them a raise and improve their benefits.

Thank you for your time.