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Arkansas: The Debate Heats Up Over Common Core

LITTLE ROCK, AR -- The debate over Common Core heats up as Indiana becomes the first state to scrap the school standards.
LITTLE ROCK, AR -- The debate over Common Core heats up as Indiana becomes the first state to scrap the school standards.

An Arkansas group -- against Common Core -- is working to make the same thing happen here, but there's plenty of resistance to that idea.

Common Core standards are used to design curriculum in classrooms across the country.

She said, "I feel like it is preparing them for college and their careers."

The principal at Baker Elementary School says Common Core develops critical thinking and helps students to become better problem solvers.

Principal Jackie Smith said, "We know more about how children learn so we can teach them in ways that are better."

But ask Karen Lamoreaux, and she'll tell you something completely different.

She says, "It's not working for Arkansas."

Lamoreaux now home-schools her children.

She says her son started to lose confidence after Pulaski County Special School District implemented Common Core standards.

She said, "Waking up in the morning saying I don't want to go to school, please don't make me go to school. I hate math. I'm stupid. This is unacceptable."

Mandie Smith says she's dealing with the same issue and also plans to home-school her daughter.

She said, "I don't want it to damage her any further. I don't want her to be damaged by Common Core."

Math lessons seem to be the main concern for parents.

Take this one for example...instead of dividing 90 by 18 to come up with the answer of five, Lamoreaux says students must draw 18 circles and mark each circle until they reach 90 to get that question correct.

She says it would take 108 steps to get the answer right.

Lamoreaux said, "This is why our children are coming home with homework full of pictures and circles and hash-marks."

We took this problem to Arkansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Tom Kimbrell.

He said, "That's not the Common Core way that's some other instructional strategy. It's not Common Core math, it's a strategy."

He explained Common Core is simply a set of standards.

Dr. Kimbrell said schools and teachers can set up their lesson plans differently as long as those standards are met.

He told us, "There's no one solution, there's multiple solutions."

Dr. Kimbrell also told us a problem shouldn't be marked incorrect if the student explained their work and got the answer right.

But some of the parents we talked to say that's not the way they see it.

Lamoreaux said, "My children have come home with math problems that were considered incorrect even if they got the right answer because they didn't use the right methodology to get to that answer."

Lamoreaux is committed to fighting against Common Core saying it's corrupting public schools.

But supporters insist the standards are the future of education and will help Americans become more competitive in this global economy.

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