Education: State Continues To Make Same Mistakes

Early on, it looks as if the Common Core standards will find itself in the same place as No Child Left Behind – a rushed, underfunded road to the perfect education paved with good intentions that led nowhere.

The idea behind the Common Core Standards is a good one – have students reach the same educational benchmarks, taught in roughly the same way, regardless of school district or state lines.

Adopted by 45 states, the Common Core does not set in stone the specific curriculum a school should use, but has several key concepts every student should learn each year. Those concepts are aligned to a rigorous set of standards. Common Core advocates say students will learn more if lesson plans and textbooks are all made more complex and difficult through required high standards – and that the best way to improve education across the United States is to have the same standards and guidelines for as many school districts as possible.

A story in Monday’s Post-Journal detailed some of the problems area schools are having implementing curriculums that meet the Common Core standards. School officials say they can’t afford to buy enough new textbooks and library materials because the state reimbursement for textbooks is far too low. Falconer officials say getting some recommended novels will be difficult because they are out of print. Jamestown is looking at the possibility of putting off textbook replacement in other areas to buy Common Core-applicable books.

The quality of education is only as good as the books schools use and the teachers who teach the material. September seems too early to move to the Common Core system. It’s unfair to teachers and the children they educate to rush a new system when schools can’t get textbooks and when teachers haven’t been properly trained in the new standards.

The higher standards are wonderful, but fall prey to the same problems that have befallen education for the last 20 years – too little money, too little planning and rushed implementation.

This is a mistake New York doesn’t have to make again.