A perspective on Common Core
To the Editor:
Tim Farley is a principal. His wife, Jessica, is a veteran teacher. They are also parents. In the letter here that Tim wrote, he speaks as an educator and a parent of the damage done by today’s ill-conceived policy changes, mistakenly called “reform.”
Tim Farley writes:
My wife and I are the proud parents of four school-aged children. They are in grades kindergarten, three, five and seven. I happen to be a building principal in the district my children attend. I have been in education for 22 years. My wife was a teacher for 12.
The transformational changes to public education over the past few years has been quite alarming, not only from an educator’s perspective, but from a parent’s perspective as well.
We have observed a change in how our children perceive their educational experience. A couple of years ago, all of them were excited about school and all the wonderful things they would learn. My wife and I no longer observe this. Our children have lost their love of school.
Every week, at least two of our children have meltdowns over the developmentally inappropriate homework assignments, the poorly worded questions, the amount of homework that comes home, repetitive and inane assignments, etc.
We cast no blame on our children’s teachers. They are the kind of teachers every parent would want for their children. They are doing their jobs to the best of their abilities even though the great majority of teachers know that the reforms they are implementing are truly harmful to children. However, they have no choice because their jobs are literally at stake. Administrators are terrified to speak out publicly because SED is quick to intimidate those who do not comply with their dictates.
My wife and I cast the blame exactly where it belongs: John King, Merryl Tisch, Andrew Cuomo, Arne Duncan, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch, the Board of Regents, et al.
These corporate reformers did an excellent job in denigrating teachers and the profession. They systematically manufactured a crisis that U.S. schools are not competitive internationally (e.g. – the PISA study that Dr. Tricozzi wrote that corrects the fallacy that our schools are failing). Our educational system isn’t perfect, but it is far from being in a crisis. Actually, we should be proud of our achievements. But accolades do not sell expensive data systems that deprive our students of their privacy. Accolades do not sell software that “fixes” the students who do not achieve at the same rate as their peers.
My wife and I are quite frankly disgusted. We can no longer tolerate the abuse of our children. We will likely pull our children out of a school district that we hold most dear; a district in which we have made our home for the past nine years. We will likely homeschool our children unless drastic changes to these reforms take place.
My feeling is that we will not be the only parents making a decision of this magnitude. Fortunately, my wife has many years experience as a teacher, so our children will do well. But I feel badly for the parents who would like to do the same thing but due to their individual circumstances cannot.
I’m tired. My wife is tired. My kids are tired. My teachers are tired. When will this insanity end? When will the parents rise up and take back their schools from the billionaires?
Tired dad, educator, administrator
Thank you for your time.