Region 8 parents react to Common Core State Standards

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Common Core has changed the way schools teach mathematics.

The new learning standards encourage more student interaction and multiple ways to find the same answer.

But many Region 8 parents said Common Core is a step in the wrong direction.

"All of a sudden, we cannot help our own children, and that's pretty scary," mother Patience Gibson said.

Gibson said she has a fifth-grader and a seventh-grader who used to love math, but now find it to be more of a headache.

"It's like they're trying to take the parents out of the education process," Gibson said. "It's like it's going more government than the parents. We have no books, we have no guidance to help our children."

Gibson said Common Core has changed the entire philosophy of education.

"We do not have examples. When they bring home homework, I have to think of all the different ways I can possibly do this problem to be able to help them."

Gibson said most of her seventh-grader's homework is online, and they have spent hours on one math problem.

"I knew I had the answer right. I knew my daughter had the answer right, which makes it even more frustrating because you have all of these computer issues," Gibson said. "And you can't move on until you get the answer right because they want it done in 20 steps versus two steps."

Gibson said the new standards set students up to fail, and other parents agree.

"We might have some great test takers, but I'm not sure we're gonna have kids that are educated," mother Shannon Puryear said.

"They're kids. You can only ask so much of them. And I don't think it's fair to send them into something where everybody doesn't have a chance to pass," mother and former teacher Jennifer Higginbotham said.

"I'm not doing this today because they don't have straight A's. They still have straight A's, even with the Common Core math. My concern is their future," Gibson said.

Educators said Common Core will better prepare students for college, but these parents disagree.

"That's not gonna happen. You've got to know the formula, you've got to know how to do it, and you've got to be able to do it quick, which is the exact opposite of what they're teaching," Gibson said.

These parents wanted to clarify, this is not about their kids' educators, but the curriculum as a whole.

The parents said they know educators are also having a tough time adjusting to these changes.

"It's keeping them from teaching how they really love to teach," Gibson said. "They only really have 15 percent control on deviating at all now because they're being told what to do and how to do it."

"We're putting so much on the educators that it takes things off of parents," Puryear said. "But we also may be enabling some parents to not have to do their job. I think we have a job to do, and we have to do our part, also."

Valley View and Brookland schools are test driving a Common Core program based on the Carnegie Method.

Parents struggling with Common Core can visit the Common Core Sheets website for helpful worksheets and other resources. If your kids are struggling with their online homework, Valley View suggests participating in a webinar with the Carnegie Learning Team.

If you would like to test your abilities against Common Core, take this fourth grade math test.

Gibson said there is also a rally in Little Rock Saturday Feb. 1 at 2 p.m. on the capitol steps. Gibson said supporters and opponents are both welcome.

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