continued “A standard ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to education goes against every grain of my educational beliefs,” Sinclair said. “The message on the shirt ‘I'm not common’ was to express to my school, community, and children that to be different, unique, and inspired should be what America embraces and seeks from education, not ‘standard’ or ‘common’ anything. I will never support a curriculum that removes the right of our teachers to share their knowledge in a forum that supports and encourage individuality and ‘uncommon’ intelligence. We ask our children to think for themselves, not tell them all to think the same, do the same, and learn the same as the child next to them. That is what makes this country special and rare. To standardize American education is to ruin the foundation of its strengths.”
Indeed, one of the goals of Common Core is to provide a standardized curriculum across the nation, so that any child, regardless of location in the United States, at a particular grade level will learn the same material. Common Core learning standards, which are aimed at helping children acquire more sophisticated reasoning skills, have been adopted in states across the nation, everywhere but Alaska, Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas and Virginia. New York’s Board of Regents adopted the more rigorous benchmark in 2010, though the 2012-13 school year marks the first time state-mandated standardized testing incorporated the standards. And according to those tests, the results of which were releases Aug. 7 of this year, less than a third of students in grades three through eight are performing at grade level.
Tests are graded on a scale of 1 to 4; levels 3 and 4 indicate proficiency. Statewide, 31.1 percent of students in grades three through eight met or exceeded the ELA proficiency standard, while 31 percent met or exceeded the math proficiency standard. In 2012, those numbers were closer to 55 percent, but state education officials said the tests are so different that they shouldn’t be compared.