Mom Protests Common Core By Taking Her Kid Out Of School, Because That Makes Sense
The Common Core, or at least, people’s occasionally skewed perception of what the Common Core is, has frustrated a lot of parents, some of them as famous as Louis CK. One mom in Ohio is upping the ante by doing more than posting mocking take-downs of “Common Core” math homework to Facebook or YouTube (though, yes, she has also done that): now, she’s threatening to pull her daughter out of school entirely as a form of protest. Yup, nothing says ‘I care about my kid’s education’ like taking it away from her to make a political point!
Medina, Ohio parent Rene Antonio tells WKYC News that she’s mad as hell about the Common Core and she’s not going to take it anymore. And by “it” I mean “her daughter, to school”. Her Facebook page encourages parents across the state to yank their kids from schools in protest to the national standards, and it’s garnered a whopping 354 likes at the time of this writing. (Her Whitehouse.gov petition is also puttering along at an impressive 16-signature clip. Only 99,984 to go!)
If the school doesn’t do a giant take-backsies on the establishment of the Common Core standards, Antonio says she plans to keep her seven-year-old daughter at home starting on December 15. I’m assuming she plans to homeschool and not just keep her kid at home on an extended vacation, so based on the name of the Facebook group (“Ohio students strike commoncore“) I’m sure she’s going to do a great job teaching her daughter writing as well as math.
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There are some valid complaints about the Common Core out there: the one-size-fits-all approach, the level of abstraction that may be too much for younger students. I don’t think a valid complaint is something along the lines of, ‘Wahh, the teacher wants my kid to understand math, not just do it!’ And I really, really don’t think a valid complaint is that the mean ol’ gubmint won’t keep its hands out of public education, which, if we’re quite honest, is where I’m pretty sure Antonio’s beef starts and ends. (The YouTube video she made of her child gleefully ripping up math homework, which you can see briefly in the above news video, also has the seven-year-old saying “The government should not control my education!” in what is obviously a totally un-coached way.) Says Antonio:
“Children’s minds don’t adapt to the Common Core like they’re expected to. It takes away from the child’s ability to explore … These aren’t the government’s children, and they aren’t the state’s children.”
No, they’re our children, which the government has the public responsibility to educate, so that they have at least a shot at growing up to be rational citizens. I’m not sure why it’s such a troubling prospect for the feds to have a say in making sure kids learn a bare minimum number of things before they graduate, and asking that those children actually understand what they’re learning instead of regurgitating it like tiny, adorable automatons. Keep your government hands off of my free, public education!
As a former teacher, I feel obliged to point out that I’m cool with homeschooling parents who know what they’re doing. I’ve known some pretty awesome homeschoolers who did a lot of leg-work to make sure that their kids were getting a good education. I’ve also known some whose kids filtered back into the public system in ninth grade unable to construct a sentence or do long division. I’m not sure which result you’re going to get by pulling your kids out of school as a ‘gotcha’ to the administration, but when your main plan is COMMON CORE BAD, well … I have my hunches.
(P.S. For those who really hate the Common Core, which is basically just a list of things students should know and understand by the time they finish each grade level, I’d take a look at the example in the embedded news video. I’d argue that the example math problem they use is a perfect one to show how new math teaching methods are actually better for kids too young to grasp abstraction than the old-fashioned “just do it” ways of subtraction. Number lines show kids where the numbers are going and what’s happening to them. And when you do a math problem in your head, do you stop to line the numbers up and carry the ones? No, you use the quickie version of a number line. Twenty-five minus nine, let’s see, taking away five gets you down to twenty, and then there’s four more left, giving sixteen.)