University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy

What Can We Learn About the Common Core from Political Cartoons?

In The View from the OEP on June 18, 2014 at 12:24 pm

In our new Arkansas Education Report, The Common Core Debate, the OEP examines the ongoing controversy surrounding the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). In this blog post, we take a more whimsical approach to summarizing the heated Common Core debate by examining cartoons and infographics on both sides of the issue. The cartoons range from the hyperbolic…

common core cartoon

to those that illustrate genuine concerns regarding the CCSS that many Americans share.

Before we begin, we have to issue a quick disclaimer: the purpose of this blog post is to give an overview of what is being said about the Common Core, not to express what the OEP believes to be true about CCSS. For the OEP’s view on the Common Core, read The Common Core Debate or our blog post summarizing the report.

ANTI-COMMON CORE CARTOONS

What do opponents of the Common Core State Standards have to say?

“FUZZY” MATH

common core cartoon

This cartoon illustrates a concern that Common Core’s math make-over has teachers assigning students ridiculous math problems. But does the Common Core perpetuate s0-called fuzzy math? Check out the OEP report for more details.

MONEY TALKS

anti gates ccss cartoon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This cartoon expresses concern about who is footing the bill for Common Core and suspicion about who may profit from it. According to the Washington Post, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has spent well over $170 million to help create and implement CCSS. Critics are concerned about wealthy private citizens using their personal fortunes to impact public policy.

“ONE SIZE FITS NONE”

one size fits all

This cartoon illustrates a concern shared by many: that CCSS are a homogeneous approach to a heterogeneous group of students. In an example provided by Jay Greene, the assertion that all 3rd graders are prepared to learn long division is not a settled question and by adopting national standards, we are “destroying the laboratory of the states that might help us learn about which approaches are more effective for which students.”

BOTCHED IMPLEMENTATION

common_core_roll2

One of the main issues with Common Core has been its implementation. Some say hasty accountability measures will lead to problems; others cite concerns about the lack of required technology infrastructure to administer computerized exams. Another oft-cited concern is that teachers have not been adequately trained and prepared to teach the standards.

LACK OF RESOURCES FOR TEACHERS

ccss teacher cartoon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This exhausted educator represents a concern discussed in our policy brief that there is a lack of externally-vetted, high-quality Common Core-aligned materials available to teachers.

PLUMMETING TEST SCORES

plummeting scores

According to an op-ed in the New York Times, students in Kentucky were the first to experience Common Core aligned testing. In 2011, Kentucky students’ scores fell across the board by roughly a third in reading and math. Similar drops in scores were observed in New York in 2013. Most experts are predicting similar results in other states. Critics of CCSS are concerned about how these test results will affect students, much like the frowning, confused children depicted in this cartoon.

TESTING MANIA

common core testing

As this cartoon depicts, there are not only concerns about abysmal test scores, but that testing is going to reach unprecedented levels. You can find out if this is a reasonable fear by reading the report.


Now for the other side of the story…

PRO-COMMON CORE CARTOONS

What do proponents of the Common Core State Standards have to say?

MORE RIGOROUS

ccss require math earlier

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As this cartoon suggests, for many states, CCSS will require that content is taught at earlier ages than it had been previously taught. When the Arkansas Department of Education did a side-by-side comparison of Arkansas’ state standards and CCSS, was this part of their findings? Find out in the report.

COMMON CORE=COLLEGE READY

remedial

This cartoon illustrates the issue that America is currently experiencing in regard to college remediation. Are we adequately preparing our high school graduates when so many need remedial courses? Remedial college courses don’t count for credit, causing many students to accrue even more debt. Proponents say that the more rigorous CCSS are trying to fix this problem and reduce the number of students that need remedial classes.

COMMON CORE=CAREER READY

ccss leads to college ready

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This cartoon alludes to the belief that CCSS will help better prepare students for the modern workforce, an important reason behind the creation of the standards.

CROSS STATE & INTERNATIONAL COMPARISONS

As this video shows, advocates of CCSS believe that one of its greatest benefits will be add to what NAEP data already provides us: a national and international measuring stick to illustrate how states/America is performing relative to others.

IMPLEMENTATION IS MANAGEABLE

PRo ccss

Botched implementation has been one of the greatest criticisms of the CCSS. This cartoon illustrates that Common Core can seem scary, but that educators should consider that many aspects of CCSS are related to positive concepts that they were likely already implementing. The author of this blog post recommends taking implementation one step at a time and to look for resources that schools may already have that can be used to help transition to CCSS.

COMMON CORE MAKES CHANGES, BUT THESE ARE GOOD CHANGES

ccss changesThis graphic portrays the belief among many proponents that the instructional changes that come with Common Core are good changes and will lead educators to focus on what is most important for children’s futures.

CONCLUSION

As you can see by the concerns “illustrated” in this post, there are many strong opinions about the Common Core. But are these critiques valid? Do opponents of the CCSS have strong or weak arguments? What about the proponents? Read our Arkansas Education Report to hear OEP’s take on the standards. We would also love to hear from Arkansas educators and school leaders with your reactions to the Common Core. Happy reading!

 

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