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Special Report: The backlash against Common Core education standards

By Ashlie Rodriguez, Reporter
Published On: May 09 2014 05:37:40 AM CDT
Updated On: May 09 2014 02:17:04 PM CDT

Reporter: Ashlie Rodriguez

EL PASO, Texas -

Forty-six states and Washington D.C. initially adopted Common Core state standards in their public schools. But that number is down to 44, and many more states are attempting to delay or reverse it.

"It's like, 'Bill has three goldfish and he buys two more.  How many dogs live in London?," said comedian Lewis C.K., who found himself under attack by the education establishment after poking fun at Common Core on The Late Show.

All jokes aside, Texas was one of just four states that refused to adopt common core standards back in 2010. New mexico uses the standards.

The department of education began to research national standards after concluding too many american students weren't college-ready.

"And the best way I can think to do that is to make sure our five-year-olds entering kindergarten to be ready to succeed, ready to read, ready with their socialization skills in tact," said U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated $75 million to the project, hoping to increase American competitiveness.

But across the country, anger and rebellion at lessons like this one posted by a parent on social media: instead of adding 7 + 7 the old-fashioned way, students are taught to, "use number bonds to help you skip-count by seven by making ten or adding to the ones."

New York Public School principals recently wrote a letter attacking what they call Common Core's terrible tests. Two major education unions the American Federation of Teachers and National Education Agency initially supported Common Core. But their leaders have recently backtracked.

"Students able to think at higher levels and problem solve are all excellent goals to have," said El Paso Federation of Teachers Spokeswoman Lucy Clarke. "It is the implementation of it that are causing the problems."

Since the standards were adopted in 2010, more than 12 state legislatures have sought to stop or delay their expansion.

"I think part of it is we are a state and we have a right to guide our own education, Clarke said. "But I think it is also the feedback that's being heard from other states -- the fact that the K-2 standards are not considered to be age appropriate, the fact that in some states there is no accommodation for students with special needs."

Teachers unions also complain that Pearson Education, the world's largest curriculum developer, won't return past tests to teachers, citing security reasons, which means the teachers can't diagnose where their students didn't perform well.

"Absolutely one doesn't want to teach to the test," Clarke said, "but a teacher needs to have some guidance in what is the best route to make sure my students are  learning what they need to achieve. The potential to transform teaching and learning is there but that's not happening."

As more states think twice about Common Core, the future of these national standards is more up in the air than ever.

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