Karen Lamoreaux, a mother and former National Honor Society member, made waves last month when she appeared before the Arkansas State Board of Education to voice her concerns over the state’s adoption of Common Core national standards. Lamoreaux asked board members to solve a simple math problem.
“Are you ready? Get your pencils out. I’m not kidding,” she said with a big smile captured on video. “Are you smarter than a Common Core fourth-grader? Let’s find out.”
If a class of 18 students counts off by a certain number and ends up with 90, she asked board members, what number did they count by? A board member quickly and correctly answered “5” and explained that she got the number by dividing 90 by 18. That’s how most of us were taught to find the answer, Lamoreaux responded, but the federal Common Core standards require students to take 108 steps to solve the problem. She held up a chart to make her point.
“This is not rigorous. This is not college-ready,” Lamoreaux, who said she has 12 years of college education, told the Arkansas board. “This is not preparing our children to compete in a global economy.”
Lindsey M. Burke, who has written and spoken at length on national education standards as Heritage’s Will Skillman Fellow in Education Policy, yesterday sympathized with Lamoreaux’s public stance. Burke said:
Centralized standard-setting would force parents and other taxpayers to relinquish one of their most powerful tools for school improvement: control of the academic content, standards and testing through their state and local policymakers. National standards are unlikely to make public schools accountable to families; rather, they are more likely to make schools responsive to Washington, D.C. What we have with Common Core national standards is a one-size-fits-all approach that will tend toward mediocrity and standardization, undercutting the pockets of excellence that currently exist.
In an interview with The Blaze, Lamoreaux told Glenn Beck that teachers as well as fellow parents share her frustration, telling her:
This is what we have to teach. This is the Common Core way. This is the Common Core standard.
Lamoreaux isn’t the first parent to go viral for standing up and speaking out against Common Core. Last fall, The Foundry wrote about a Maryland parent who was thrown out of a public forum held by the Maryland State Department of Education and arrested after he challenged the official line on Common Core. “Is this America?” he asked.
The Foundry also recently reported on concerns that Common Core is leaving students unprepared for math and science.