New Mexico students stage walkout to protest Common Core tests

Hundreds of students walked out of New Mexico high schools and staged protests against Common Core testing they claim detracts from real learning and doesn’t accurately measure their educational progress.

Common Core was carefully thought out by a legion of qualified and experienced educators, and has been adopted in most states; according to Wikipedia, “The Common Core initiative only specifies what students should know at each grade level and describes the skills that they must acquire in order to achieve college or career readiness. Individual school districts are responsible for choosing curricula based on the standards.”

B_GxQbQVAAIeeaKBut Common Core hasn’t been free of controversy. Many conservatives see it as a “national curriculum” and a federal takeover of educational decisions that should be made locally. Both the liberal Brookings Institution and conservative Heritage Foundation have questioned its effectiveness. But Common Core also has support from the NEA and other teachers’ unions, Exxon and other businesses, and assorted think tanks. Mother Jones, a progressive news magazine, criticized it for failing to include computer literacy among its requirements. (But is there any kid in America who doesn’t know how to text, chat, and email?) Some academics, teachers, and parents are uncomfortable with various aspects of Common Core. Opinion polls suggest public support for Common Core has peaked and is waning, while protests are becoming more widespread.

Students seem to react mainly to the tests, which they find stressful. Wikipedia says, “Some parents have said that the new assessments are too difficult and are causing too much stress, leading to an ‘opt-out movement’ in which parents refuse to let their children take the tests.”

According to Daily Caller, the New Mexico protests “were organized by the progressive group ProgressNow NM, which argues that the tests take too much time and aren’t linked to any increase in academic achievement.” The issue is relatively high profile here in Seattle because the Gates Foundation has played a major role in pushing for Common Core’s implementation — which has resulted in Bill Gates Jr. getting some personal backlash.

Photo: New Mexico students staged a walkout on Monday, March 2, 2015, to protest stressful testing mandated by Common Core.



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