JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Common Core is a system of education standards that are supposed to help prepare students for college and the workforce; but parents are struggling to see the benefit, especially at home.
Parents are wondering how they are to help their kids with their homework when they don't understand it themselves.
Amie Griffin is a mother of 2, and she doesn't understand how these new standards are helping.
“It's supposed to be no children left behind,” Griffin said. “This is leaving children behind.”
She said when her 7-year-old son brings home his math homework it's an all-night ordeal.
“As a parent you feel like you're failing because you can't teach your kids what they need to learn,” Griffin said.
Griffin said it's difficult to see her son struggle and feel like he isn't capable of learning the material.
“He comes in and he's upset,” Griffin said. “He was talking about how he had missed a recess because he had to work on his homework. He was like I just didn't understand it.”
While she said she is appreciative the teachers take their break time to help her son learn, she just doesn't understand what makes the way she was taught math wrong and this new system is right.
“Why make one problem into four problems just so they understand how to get the same answer?” Griffin asked.
It's a problem Griffin said many of her friends are facing, as well.
“I can spend ten minutes on it and try to figure it out, but we have friends that have the older kids that they spend hours at night trying to understand so they can teach their kids,” Griffin said. “They are at a point where I'm going to have to get a tutor to make me understand to help my children understand.”
Administrators say Common Core allows for a broader understanding of the material, and new ways of teaching.
“Common Core has narrowed the focus a little bit, and is allowing our teachers to go more in depth with different topics at each grade level,” said Sherry Moody, Valley View School District curriculum director.
“The method teachers are using to help the students understand their number sense, that may not make sense to the parent because the parent wasn't taught that way,” said Nicole Covey, Brookland School District curriculum director.
Covey and Moody said they understand the frustration, but it's all for a bigger purpose.
“What are they going to need when they get out in the workforce and they don't have the answer in front of them,” Covey said.
“The purpose for Common Core is to get kids college- and career-ready,” Moody said.
Moody said the changes have been difficult for parents as well as the school, but she said the new standards are the law.
“It's what our state told us to do, and we have to follow those standards for our accreditation,” Moody said. “So we've just done the best we could.”
Both Moody and Covey say Common Core allows more exploration in the classroom such as Ms. Gibson using Oreo's to help her fifth graders learn how to find mean, median, and mode.
But even with the fun, change isn't easy. “It's a frustration on the teachers, on the staff, on the parents, on the students, and it's just not fair,” Griffin said.
Griffin said she will continue to do anything she can to help her son, but hopes with new legislators something can be done.
“I hope they really look at what our children are going through,” Griffin said. “It's not fair and I hope that someone will come through and change this curriculum back.”
Covey said if the state does decide to make changes to the standards the district will comply.
“If the state chooses to dump Common Core and go with another set of standards, we are going to follow that,” Covey said. “We are going to do it with a smile, and we are going to educate our kids just like we do every other day.”
This is the first year the Common Core standards are required to be fully implemented into the school's curriculum. It is also the first year students will be tested by the state based on Common Core standards.
Administrators said the results will be a better reflection to how the curriculum works nationally, and their advice to parents is to ask questions and do research on what Common Core really is. That way they can understand why these standards are considered beneficial.
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