Professional Experience and Personal Reflections
by Lisa Bowstead, Founder

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NY State doesn't understand
the Common Core Standards
October 4, 2013

I like the new Common Core standards: The new standards hold the student accountable not only for correct answers, but sincere explanations. I like the idea of teaching our students to be thinkers. It's a GREAT idea!! 

In practice, however, I have found that what is happening in the classrooms is quite the contrary. My students are coming to me in tears, having already given up hope of mastering math. 

Students are being fed stacks of worksheets from NY State that are full of rote exercises that they need to mimic. Teachers, who know how to teach, have been mandated to use these worksheets (or else). They are so busy teaching how to complete the worksheets that they cannot teach concepts. The worksheets are wordy, confusing, unexplained and myopic. Once again, students are being trained to mimic arbitrary "tricks" that will get the right answer, with no effort to teach them to understand the math. 


So many students are already giving up. Smart students who cannot master these worksheets are learning that they are stupid. Motivated students are learning that their schools will beat them down. Creative thinkers are being silenced. 

Sadly, lessons that had been introduced by NY State early last year are gone. These lessons had been very interesting, and guided students towards creative problem solving. They encouraged students to use numbers and words and diagrams and patterns to explain their thinking. These lessons, however, had three major flaws: they took a very long time, the learning process was very individualized, and the results were impossible to measure. ...and NY State only cares about measurable results. 

NY State employs an incredible number of highly educated, highly skilled and highly experienced professionals in the field of education, NONE of whom are writing the new curriculum...