Nation’s Top Teacher Resigning Over Common Core

Here in my home in Lorain County, Ohio, people were thrilled to see one of our own teachers in the running for the search for America’s Top Teacher by the Live with Kelly and Michael show.

Common Core Math

Stacie Starr was nominated by a grateful parent:

“Please consider Stacie Starr for your contest. She is the hardest working, most selfless woman I have ever had the pleasure of knowing,” Verlotti wrote to close out the letter that detailed her son’s struggles after a diagnosis at age 3 of Asperger syndrome and how it affected his school life.

Starr was already known within the district as a top teacher. She started a boys group and personally mentored a group of at-risk boys. She said the highlight of her career was “the moment – watching those young men who started out as a group of at-risk boys walk across the stage to finish their high school careers with diplomas in hand – that let her know her job as a teacher had purpose.”

Elyria was ecstatic when Starr made the cut to 5 semi-finalists, and then ultimately won the Top Teacher award. The high school received a new electronic scoreboard for the stadium and Starr was awarded a new car.

Starr made a huge difference in the lives of those young men and so many other students, and was recognized nationally for her amazing work.

It came as a great shock then yesterday, that Starr said she would be resigning from teaching because of the new Common Core standards that have been implemented in Ohio. From the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram:

Gasps of disbelief followed the announcement made during an education forum aimed at unraveling for parents the intricacies of the standardized testing system. Starr was at the podium, delivering a talk on how special education students are suffering under the new system based on Common Core standards and more rigorous assessments. She said as a veteran intervention specialist at Elyria High School, she could no longer watch silently from within the confines of a structured school day.

If the crowd in the room was any indication, Starr will not be alone. Other teachers spoke of their desire to leave education or told stories about how colleagues want to walk away.
“I’m like you. I feel like I have to get out,” said Jackie Conrad, a third grade teacher.

Cleveland’s NewsNet 5 also broadcast the story.

This school year was my first personal experience with the new teaching methods. I have a degree in engineering, so I obviously took a lot of advanced math classes at the college level. My 13 year old son’s math homework contains new processes and terms that I have never seen before, and certainly wouldn’t ever consider using.

Parents and conservatives have been fighting against Common Core for years, but now even the large teachers’ unions such as the NEA and AFT have also come out to say that the new teaching material is going to hurt kids. Both unions formerly supported Common Core but have pulled back their support.

Last year in Ohio, a bill was introduced to repeal the Common Core standards in the state, but it spent most of the year being held hostage in the Education committee by Rep. Gerald Stebleton (R-Lancaster), a Republican who supports the program, exclaiming that Common Core opponents “don’t know what they’re talking about.” The bill never reached the House floor before the session ended in December.

Republican lawmakers now tell me that there may be multiple, smaller bills to incrementally repeal parts of Common Core one at a time, instead of another large sweeping bill.

But they face another hurdle in Governor John Kasich, who is a supporter. Kasich insists that local school boards are still in control, even though the standards were developed out of the public eye by National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. He has criticized conservatives and fellow Republican governors for opposing Common Core, suggesting that their opposition is purely political.

However, most parents who have talked to their local teachers and school officials find that they do not feel at all that they have any input on the standardized tests or the methods of teaching them.

When a nationally recognized, dedicated and hard working teacher like Ms. Starr feels like she needs to throw in the towel and resign her life’s work because these new tests and standards are preventing her from teaching her students, it’s time for politicians to stop dismissing parents’ and teachers’ concerns and start listening.

Author: Nick

I was born and raised in Ohio. After growing up in the Columbus area, I moved to Cleveland to study at Case Western Reserve University, and have lived in Northeast Ohio ever since. I live in Wellington with my wife and son. I work in the private sector and have never worked in the political field.

21 thoughts on “Nation’s Top Teacher Resigning Over Common Core”

  1. Common. Core was not created by governors or educational members …this is a lie sold to the people …it was created by David Coleman and his cohorts …do you research …

  2. For the life of me, I cannot understand why, each time a test is developed, everyone(teachers, admin & parents) is upset. How hard is it to put together a test that covers material taught in the schools that can give an indication of how well the students are learning. However, some of the math examples I’ve seen from Common Core, require a particular methodology for solving a problem rather than looking for the correct answer to the problem. If that methodology is not taught across the board, one has to ask what is the purpose of that question. Is it the method of solving a problem or the ability to solve the problem(correct answer) that is being sought?

    1. The whole Common Core controversy boils down to one problem – we are forcing low and high achievers to learn the same methodology by a certain age which is impossible, because all kids develop at different paces, physically, cognitively and emotionally.

      I can tell you from one inner city school, testing is unecessary because we already know the scores are unachievable by vast majorities of the students. Testing, along with learning, should be delivered at the appropriate functioning level of the student, not the functioning level of the Massachussets suburbs.

  3. It appears she misunderstands the common core standards. The common core standards are broad and rigorous and allow teachers to engage students in multiple learning styles. The common core standards are not about “drill and kill.” She’s talking about the old state standards. And it what way does she strike a “big blow to the common core”? Do you think her resignation matters? Every school site and district is different; some know what they are doing and others are still catching on. Remember, the CCSS are relatively

    1. Define “rigorous.” It is the buzz word used over and over again ad naseum when “selling” common core. It is used in EVERY hand out and talking point. Tell us how “rigorous” teaches children to think with their God-given common sense.

  4. Common core is the #1 reason I retired years before I planned on. I gave it my best shot, but after just a few years of trying I couldn’t do it anymore! It is unreasonable and unrealistic standards that leave the average and struggling student feeling defeated and discouraged. I was given 100% professional judgement directly out of college, but year after year the government has intruded to the point that after 31 years I was given 0% professional judgement. I could see I was not doing what is best for kids and going home each night upset, frustrated and unfulfilled. Teaching use to be rewarding, but no longer!

    1. I agree. Teaching has been my career for the past 19 years, and have always taught at high achieving schools. Not only am I discouraged by common core curriculum but by the “powers that be” who have never been in a classroom. I also see that several schools view veteran teachers as educators who are unwilling to change. We all know that veteran teachers have seen what works and doesn’t work. This has to be the worst idea ever implemented!!!

  5. Hmmm … a great represenatative of the teaching profession. Rather than use her influence as a Teacher of The Year to make change, she quits.
    As a conservative educator who believes in much of what the Tea Party advocates I am amazed at the disengenous, demagaugery, half truths, and complete ignoring of the facts about how Common Core came about and what it actualy is that is propogated by so many on the right.

    1. As a conservative educator(I would like to see your definition) you are obviously doing nothing to stop the gross intrusion of the federal government on education. Common Core data mining goes way beyond anything we have had to deal with before.

      During the past several years our district(Westerville) has had contentious levy fights. Finland is the country most sited by sycophant union supporters as a model we should follow. Finlands education system is totally run by teachers with no parental input. Children are tracked in preschool and it is decided early on what they should study. Children have no opportunity to explore other avenues of interest and cannot develop a multi educational experience. If this is the model we should follow then let’s totally throw away the Constitution because individual opportunity for success and happiness will be stifled. We need people to wake up!

  6. This Common Core like many other programs that have surfaced over the years has the same basic problem as all of them have had. They are introduced by people (legislators) who know nothing about education without consulting any teachers, administrators, students, parents, within any geographic area. If you want to change something in your business (engineering, technology, manufacturing) do you ask the legislator to do that? No, you probably ask the people who are on the job, in the field, to see how better to run that business. Even though school is not a business (since all students are not on the same page economically, environmentally, etc.) we have to have people who know what is being done in order to change things to make them better. As a retired teacher of almost 40 years I know that getting parents, students, administration, and most of all teachers (those people that meet with students every day) involved in an project will give you results since everyone who is affected has a voice in the process!

  7. We just worked for an hour with our 6th grader on sorting data an obtaining the absolute mean deviation. It’s almost like dear in the headlights. We did it( by reading the book) but by next week it will be on to some other useless information an 11 won’t need.

  8. The Common Core is designed by politicians and big business to destroy the teaching profession and education as we know it. Most students will be unsuccessful, and this will cause the politicians to further the attack on teachers. Further cuts on on teachers and education will cause public schools to sink into greater despair. Gov. Cuomo for one is trying to throw funding toward only private schools.When only private schools can reach the wealthy and fully supported 1% ers kids, the education reform will enable the rich to stay richer while the poor get poorer. Big business and the corrupt politicians win, and the teachers will be held accountable for being unable to get kindergartens to complete addition to the hundreds place and multiplication. There are no true educators actually writing the common core assessments, only those who have never been in a typical classroom. All teachers who are able should get out now. And if people don’t rally and fight, our kids are lost. Oppose testing, teacher evaluation reforms, and politicians and big business sticking their noses into education when they have no idea how to educate. We are running out of time to save our schools.

  9. The common core math problem — if it is representative — strikes me as inefficient at best and silly at worst. But what do I know? I got my Ph.D. in the previous century so maybe it has expired by now?

    To get the to answer as outlined the student has to do the following four calculations: 10 – 6 = 4; 4 + 13 = 17; 26 + 4 = 30; and finally 30 + 13 = 43.

    Why is all that better than just adding 26 + 17 = 43 in the first place? Isn’t it pretty simple to carry the 1 (representing 10) to the next column of numbers on the left?

    I dread to think how common core might want the student to solve 1034 + 2346 = ?

  10. the common core math homework my kids are bringing home in 2nd to 4th grade is complete gibberish – I am also an engineer who took tons of math, and I can barely figure out what the heck they are trying to do – I hate it

    1. Bryan, it is refreshing to hear that from an engineer dude. I consider myself math disabled, even with my college degree, but I could usually help my kids to some point. this year as a volunteer at our local school, I sat in on a math lesson for 2ND GRADERS and was in a total fog. They needed help on the follow up sheets to the lesson, and I was at a total loss. 🙁

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