Students Are Dumber, Schools Are Worse, And Common Core Is To Blame

Students Are Dumber, Schools Are Worse, And Common Core Is To Blame

Our students are being forced to work with a broken system of education, and are suffering because of it.

Sitting tirelessly in a classroom, drumming my pencil against the desk, listening to my teacher drone on about a topic that has been beaten to death, I have a thought, “well this sucks”. Nothing unique or special. Just a normal thought everyone has when lazily sitting at one’s desk, waiting for the bell to ring.

Although, I did have another thought, “why does school seem to be like this?" I have since come to the conclusion that school has been dumbed down to accommodate for everyone, and this has had adverse effects in our classroom and in our education system as a whole.

When former President, George W. Bush, uttered the words,” No child left behind,” we had to rapidly change our society to support everyone. The mentality that everyone is a winner has damaged the motivation of young individuals to pursue anything challenging for fear of failure. We as a society have made it so that anyone should be able to win because we have foolishly simplified the education system. We have stifled the creativity of individuals who wish to branch out, and we shame them for being wrong. If you don’t succeed at first, you never try again.

We say that we are granting an equal chance by giving everyone the same understanding of thinking, but we neglect those who have multiple intelligences. Those are individuals who may not meet the four basic common cores of thinking: Math, Science, English, and History. We call them stupid and dumb for not thinking the “correct” way. We have made students think the same and have caused the regression of society to a hive mind mentality. You are damned if you stand out, and you are damned if you don’t. We expect everyone to be exceptional. If we are all winners than we need not progress any further as a society because we have reached perfection.

The use of the Common Core Curriculum has made the modern education system what it is today. We have systematized the classroom into data points. We have made every student a point on a graph. We have measured their intellectual growth through their school careers based on memorization for an exam.

What Common Core did was remove the individuality from the student and turn everyone into a number. Instead of critical thinking, we have forced teachers to teach for an exam that the students have to memorize to pass. We see the growth of a student based on their capacity of memorization, not on their variety of intellectual attributes that make up who they are. Teachers no longer teach to test the knowledge of the student by taking what they have learned in the classroom and explaining how to apply it in real life.

I propose a new deal. I propose that we rid ourselves of the Common Core Curriculum and move to more of a grassroots movement of education. The Network for Public Education, an interest group, is currently advocating for more grassroots-led education. What this means is that schools would be able to develop their own tests for their students, knowing the strengths and weaknesses of their student body the best. We would have certified individuals who would evaluate the teachers and the schools to check whether they are functioning properly.

This would advocate for better teachers, administrators, and learning equipment. Money would be given to schools that are lacking, to enhance their level of education so every student is accommodated for. This would remove the stress and the pressure of teachers specifically teaching for a state exam. Teachers would be able to conduct their classrooms how they see best for their students; very much like a college professor.

Teachers would be able to test their students' knowledge base better through exams that ask for application and understanding of the material. The final exams would be graded by teachers in the same district to remove any bias from the students. This would also allow the district to see if a teacher is teaching incorrectly, or if the students are lacking the understanding of the material.

This would also require more money for education, increasing the demand of good teachers, and making the education system better. Students are a human investment. The more money you spend to make sure they get the best education, the more the return is on your investment in our economy.

Cover Image Credit: George Becker

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To All Incoming Freshmen, When You Get To College, Please Don't Be THAT Freshman

I am pretty sure we all know who I'm talking about.


As we are all counting down the days to return to campus, students are looking forward to meeting new people and reuniting with old friends. And then, there is the freshman.

We have all been there. The eagerness and excitement have been slowly building up through months of summer vacation, all waiting for this moment. I understand the anxiousness, enthusiasm, and insecurities. The opportunity to meet new people and explore a new area is very intriguing. But let's be real, you are here to make memories and get an education. So here are a few pieces of advice from a former college freshman.

1. Don't be that freshman who follows their significant other to college

This is the boy or girl who simply can not think for themselves. The 17-year-old puts their own personal goals and interests aside to sacrifice for a six-month high school relationship. This will more than likely end at an end of semester transfer after the relationship has been tested for a month or two in college life. So if you want to really enjoy your freshman year, make your own decisions and do what is best for you.

2. Don't be that freshman who lets their parents pick their major

"You are not going to school just to waste my money."

This is a statement you might have heard from your parents. As true as it might seem, this is definitely not a good way to start your college years. If you are not majoring in something you can see yourself doing, you are wasting your time. You can major in biology, go to medical school, and make the best grades. But if deep down you don't want to be a doctor, you will NOT end up being a good doctor. When it comes to picking your major, you really have to follow your heart.

3. Don't be that freshman who gets overwhelmed with the first taste of freedom

Yes. It is all very exciting. You don't have a curfew, you don't have rules, you don't have anyone constantly nagging you, but let's not get carried away. Don't be the freshman who gets a tattoo on the first night of living on your own. Don't be the freshman who tries to drink every liquor behind the bar. Don't be the freshman who gets caught up being someone that they aren't. My best advice would be to take things slow.

4. Don't be that freshman who starts school isolated in a relationship

I'm not telling you not to date anyone during your freshman year. I am saying to not cut yourself off from the rest of the world while you date someone. Your first year on campus is such an amazing opportunity to meet people, but people are constantly eager to start dating someone and then only spend time with that person.

Be the freshman who can manage time between friends and relationships.

5. Don't be that freshman who can't handle things on their own

It is your first year on your own. Yes, you still need help from your parents. But at this point, they should not be ordering your textbooks or buying your parking pass. If you need something for a club or for class, YOU should handle it. If you're having roommate problems, YOU should handle it, not your parents. This is the real world and college is a great time for you to start building up to be the person you want to be in the future, but you can't successfully do that if your parents still deal with every minor inconvenience for you.

6. Don't be that freshman who only talks to their high school friends

I know your high school was probably amazing, and you probably had the coolest people go there. However, I believe that college is a great time to be on your own and experience new things. Meeting new people and going to new places will allow you to grow into a more mature person. There is a way to balance meeting new friends and maintaining friendships with childhood friends, and I am sure you will find that balance.

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Say Something Nice, Or Nothing At All

There will never be a day where trying proving you're right will be more important than love, kindness and patience.


The current state of the world certainly looks bleak. However, here in America, the energy seems particularly negative. It seems that now more than ever we as a nation are divided on political, social and humanitarian issues. This has been the golden opportunity for people to tear down others based on where they stand on said issues. Now I will be the first to tell you I am also guilty of this. I'm a bleeding-heart liberal, whiny SJW that screams internally anytime I hear someone say "All Lives Matter." I'm a human being. I let my passionate thinking get in the way of recognizing that we all are in fact much more alike than we care to admit.

We tend to conclude that the more arguing and brawling we do with the "other side," the further we get toward the change we wish for. That is why we are seeing so many protests turning violent. People throwing things at protesters, shouting hateful and violent words and ultimately killing each other. We believe that if we beat into people's heads that what they're thinking is dangerous and wrong, it will eventually get to them. Unfortunately, that's far from the truth.

I urge anyone striving to create change in our current society for the better, heed this old and wise advice: You will catch more flies with honey, than with vinegar. Take it from former Neo-Nazi and activist Christian Picciolini, who says about his experience with compassion from others, "I had never in my life engaged in a meaningful dialogue with the people that I thought I hated, and it was these folks who showed me empathy when I least deserved it, and they were the ones that I least deserved it from."

He goes on to say that the people he used to hate were the ones who, with their unlimited and unconditional compassion, helped him recognize his wrongdoing. It was their patience and kindness that pulled Picciolini out of his hateful past.

Since this philosophy applies to everyday life and not just for times of protest, we as a nation should reflect on one of the oldest lessons we were taught as children: if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything. Have fruitful and passionate discussions with people you disagree with, engage in arguments with them, but being mean or violent to get your point across will not work. Be respectful of one another, and should you gain the same respect back, hopefully, you find something in common. No matter where we stand on any issue, we will find that the similarities we have with each other greatly outweigh the differences. After all, we all bleed red.

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