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02 Sep 2015

First there was No Child Left Behind, now there's Common Core. It seems like Educational reform is a dog and pony show with an endless caravan of new incarnations. You would think that one of the previous incarnations should have solved the problem by now but instead they just keep reinventing the wheel and running into the same wall that the predecessors have run into.

Instead of fixing the problem, the the new incarnations are leaving both students and parents quite confused. There doesn't seem to be a clear fix no matter in which direction one looks.

Parents with extra income are in a position to find a tutor in houston, which is I think the best solution out there. More on that later. The other option is to be fortunate enough to have a teacher that goes the extra mile by staying late after school and helping kids understand whatever was taught earlier in the day. But imagine the amount of kids that need help, multiply that by the amount of classes that the teacher has and you will see why that is not a reasonable and certainly not sustainable. As far as I'm concerned, there was really nothing wrong with education before.

Common Core has not been without it's challenges. As you might have read, there are a good number of states and if not entire states, there are districts that have been challenging what they see as the burden ot Common Core. At times the resistance has been on an individual level with parents opting out of the relentless testing regimen. But what remains to be seen is precisely how effective Common Core is - will we see an increase in performance in American school children? I bet that the architects of the entire scheme are quite frustrated by all of this questionable publicity!

There is a growing number of people mired in frustration over this. Parents are the front line - they are the ones who have no choice but to sit with their children every night looking over cryptic textbooks but the more secure avenue is to look for tutors in Houston. Since when have addition and subtraction become so tough that even parents are having a difficult time explaining how to do these simple operations to their overwhelmed elementary schoolers? As if a parent doesn't already have enough on the plate but now to have to take on the extra task of relearning simple operations only to turn around and struggle to teach their kids using these new methods.

If you've gotten a chance to look at the new work you're quite familiar with what I'm referring to. The icing on the cake is that the material appears to be coming from what would normally be the following year's curriculum. When these two items are taken together you have to wonder exactly what the Common Core architects had in mind: how did they expect kids who were struggling with the old curriculum to fare? Houston parents certainly have their work cut out for them but hopefully they realize that they can rely on teachers who are generous enough with their time to stay a bit after school, or better yet tutors to help with homework assignments.

Private schools won't offer a true escape either. You might be able to run from Common Core but you can't hide, since many tests nation wide rely on the Common Core methodology to construct the tests. The upgraded curriculum is based on something called College Readiness, which is meant to toughen standards so that upon graduating high school, students are at the proper level to deal with the rigors of university course work.

Private schools also come in different flavors. Some opt for religious schools which as it happens have a wide range when it comes to educational standards. For parents without resources there is a new breed of private schools that are meant to be significantly less expensive than traditional public schools, but that are staffed by less experienced teachers like those form Teach for America. It's up to parents to choose wisely when investigating alternatives to public education.

The source of this new curriculum is places like Finland, where educators are quite expert and are selected from among the top graduates from the best colleges. Then they have to test to enter incredibly selective teaching universities, so what you have is the best in breed teaching school children. Finnish students don't even need to be sent home with homework yet they consistently score 3rd worldwide in measures of academic proficiency, behind South Korea and Singapore.

Some think that the answer is to return things to the traditional curriculum, but how can we achieve that when so many exams have been revamped to reflect this new way of looking at learning? The only reliable way to deal with this is to get a tutor, or for parents to invest the necessary time to offset the situation in their homes and on their own. Failing that, there is really nothing more than can be done to remedy the situation.

But not everybody is in the position to hire tutors for a variety of subjects and to maintain that schedule for the majority of the school year. And as you might have read in the papers, the budgets for schools are shrinking so the possibility of getting publicly funded private tutors has been fading with subsequent budget cuts. Parents must understand that for the most part they're on their own.


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