Good News About American Education… Pass It On!


book and kite

“…The US ranks 1st in the world in Nobel Prizes in the sciences and medicine. 60% of all Nobel Laureates come from US public schools.  The US ranks 1st in the world in the number of utility patents and the number of scientific papers produced.

The US ranks 2nd in the world on the Global Creativity Index, 3rd on the Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index, and 5th on the Global Innovation Index.

We rank in the top 10 in the industrialized world for the percentage of high school graduates and the percentage of our population with BA degrees.

We produce the highest percentage of engineers who are qualified to work in multi-national corporations, we produce the greatest number of engineering doctorates, over 90% of which go to US born students, and the list of the accomplishments goes on.

In short, the arguments that all these standardizing reforms are both necessary…

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Okay, I’m just gonna say it: THE IDEA BEHIND COMMON CORE WAS GOOD. The higher standards and nationally leveled curriculum was a good, honest idea. Teaching kids to think critically is a good idea. BUT…what Common Core REALLY became is HORRENDOUS. Here’s what I hate MOST (trust me, there’s more) about THE REALITY OF CCSS:

1.  Obama and Gates and the Publishing companies made it 99% about PROFITS. Money for politicians, money for Gates, money for publishers of workbooks and test materials. Money for ADVERTISERS that paid for their BRAND NAMES to be included in the aligned materials and tests.

2. The people that actually wrote the standards were NOT educators, they were MARKETERS and RESEARCHERS with NO experience with CHILDREN’S LEARNING. All the REAL experts in education and child psychology are VEHEMENTLY and outspokenly against it.

3. They took what elementary schoolers had been doing IN THE STATES WITH THE HIGHEST STANDARDS ALREADY and then DROPPED MOST OF IT DOWN 1-2 GRADES and called that “accelerated learning.” BUT there was a REASON that 4th grade material was done IN FOURTH GRADE. It was developmentally appropriate! Pushing kids to understand concepts 1 or 2 years beyond their little brains’ abilities IS NOT “higher standards.” Period. It’s just FRUSTRATING and making more kids hate school and feel like failures, and SQUASHING the love of reading and learning they’d have had if these ideas were presented AT THE RIGHT TIMES and in the right ways.

4. They took Singapore math, twisted it, crammed it into workbooks, made it the ONLY RIGHT WAY, and jammed it down the throats of kids WHO CANNOT THINK THAT WAY. All students learn differently. Singapore math is awesome. But the CCSS version is crap, and even the correct version shouldn’t be forced onto all children. Educating thousands of children REQUIRES differentiation of methodology and instruction. That is NOT optional.

5. The publishing companies RUSHED to create the “aligned” materials so they could get the HUGE contract$, so the content is FLAWED, worded HORRIFICALLY, and IT WAS NEVER EVER EVER TESTED ON ANY CHILDREN ANYWHERE. Not in China, and not in the U.S. Our kids are GUINEA PIGS — Bill Gates even ADMITTED IT!!! ON RECORD!!!

6. CCSS’s obsession with “higher standards” focuses almost completely on Math and ELA — making it THE focus of early childhood education. It has tossed aside the other VITAL elements of education: Science, History, Art, and Music are now all afterthoughts.

7. CCSS’s obsession with ALL DAY, EVERY DAY TEST PREP/TEACHING TO THE TESTS has virtually ELIMINATED free time, play time, and hands-on learning for even the youngest students. OUR 5 YEAR OLDS ARE SITTING STILL ALLLLLLLLL DAY…and then they are inundated with homework at night. KIDS NEED TO MOVE AND EXPLORE AND CREATE AND LAUGH AND SING!

8. CCSS’s obsession with testing has made a bad situation worse. For just over 10 years, the focus of learning in school has shifted from LEARNING to PASSING TESTS. That is NOT a Free and Appropriate Public Education, which is what we are entitled to for our kids BY LAW. If we ARE LEGALLY OBLIGATED TO SEND OUR KIDS TO SCHOOL, then the schools should be LEGALLY OBLIGATED TO ACTUALLY TEACH OUR CHILDREN SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE. When did it become the government’s job to make sure my kids can pass math and ela tests, rather than UNDERSTAND MATHEMATICAL CONCEPTS THAT ARE RELEVANT and LEARN AND LOVE TO READ AND WRITE?

9. CCSS puts so much emphasis on Math and ELA that there is now TOO MUCH READING IN THE MATH and TOO MUCH MATH IN THE READING. First graders who cannot read on a third grade level cannot read their math homework. Third graders are reading 11-page passages in their ELA workbooks that are basically 11 pages worth of math word problems. So if you WOULD have been good at math but you’re not good at reading, NOW you’re not good at EITHER, and vice versa.

10. Common Core, no matter what the catch phrases and buzz words try to tell you, is causing kindergarteners to have tutors, middle school children to have anxiety attacks, early learners to hate reading, and parents to spend 1, 2, 3+ hours with their grade schoolers trying to do homework through tears — from the children AND the parents. SO NO MATTER HOW THEY TRY TO SPIN IT, THE PROOF IS IN THE RANCID PUDDING.

Common Core is BAD. Not just the implementation, not just the new style of math, not just for the older kids who started it midway through school, and not just for the kids who are struggling. It is bad for EVERY SINGLE CHILD IN CCSS-ALIGNED SCHOOLS. Because even if your kid is getting great grades, they are NOT learning what they should be, and the rest of the kids are miserable.

Find out more. Go online and onto Facebook and join your local Common Core informational groups. Ask questions. Stop this now.

-Ellie Calo-Motondo
Former NYC Public School Teacher, Current Mother of NYC Public School Children



Considering Homeschooling b/c of CCSS…

I’ve decided on homeschooling my kids starting next September if Common Core remains in our schools.  The primary reason I’ve not pulled them out already is the “socialization” issue.  However, the atrocities that accompany our first “fully aligned” year have made me do much more in-depth research.  

There is a huge homeschool population in Staten Island, where I live. There is a group that gets together at least twice a week for group projects and field trips. Although I hate the thought of my kids missing out on some of the constant socialization of school, I don’t think it will hinder their development at all. There are many, many ways to socialize children outside of school. In fact, I think my kids did more socializing this summer than they actually do in school, since they’re made to sit and read/write all day, and then during lunch and the limited “free time”/recess they are given, they are constantly redirected to be less active and less loud — because they’re busting at the seems with pent-up energy from being forced to sit still all damned day. If anything, the current climate in most elementary schools is HINDERING normal socialization! Not to mention there are NEVER kids outside on the block playing between 3 & 5 like there used to be after school because of the inundation of homework.

I never knew ANYONE that homeschooled until last year.  I always thought it was for crazy conspiracy theorists.  This year a shocking number of my friends have started as well.  I worried about juggling work and homeschooling until I realized that our children currently ONLY get about 2-3 hours a day of actual instructional time, once you remove transition time between different rooms and test prep time.  Think about that — TWO TO THREE HOURS A DAY OF ACTUAL LEARNING TIME.  It already takes me 2-3 hours a night to do their awful homework with them because I have to reteach them almost every concept anyway.

I’ll get to teach them on their levels.  I’ll get to hurry through concepts they get right away, and take as much time as they need on concepts they’re struggling with.  I’ll be able to teach them about poetry and art and science and history.  We can put on little performances with the homeschool group.  We can have physical activity EVERY DAY.  All the things that they aren’t getting in elementary school that they SHOULD be getting will be possible if we homeschool.  The only thing I’ll miss is my personal free time, which I am MORE than willing to sacrifice for their well-being and benefit.

Found this image during my researching, thought it said more than I could in a written blog…


And one written piece that is WAY longer than what I’m willing to write, but worth the read if you’re thinking about homeschooling, even if its a remote thought in the back of your mind…

Trust the experts…

The ONLY 2 EDUCATORS with Early Childhood experience involved in creating the Common Core standards REJECTED them & are now avidly and actively speaking out against them… DOESN’T THAT SCREAM SOMETHING?!

Don’t take my word for it, Google: “common core and Dr. Milgram,” then Google: “common core and Dr. Sandra Stotsky.”

Read for yourself. Find out why there is SO much wrong with common core that it has to go if our children have any chance of getting a good education.



Common Core: The Good, The Bad, and The Reality

Not my words, but words that need to be shared!


Last year, I wrote the post “How Common Core is Slowly Changing My Child.”  It struck a nerve with parents and teachers across the country as we all were adjusting to the new Common Core State Standards. I wrote it on a night where everything went wrong and homework was a nightmare for my then third grade son. That day had also been particularly difficult at work as I had begun to teach the first common core module unit to my ninth graders. After the kids went to bed, I wrote. By morning, the response was overwhelming. Two weeks later, I still had parents commenting on the change they had seen in their children due to school.

A year later, almost to the date, the post is making its way onto people’s newsfeed again and I’m getting the same comments from concerned parents and teachers.  It’s been a…

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A mom, an educator, and a lover of creativity…oh, and a hater of Common Core.