As Cooper’s first semester as a kindergartener draws to a close, a new worry begins—the Common Core Assessment Test, which will be given sometime during the spring semester. Common Core is the United States’ new nationwide curriculum standard, which has parents across the nation in an uproar.

Common Core is designed to “catch up” American children to the standard of education being taught in other first-world countries. 

The idea of Common Core and its curriculum itself is not what’s causing tension between parents and the Department of Education—it’s the assessment.

See, while the curriculum may vary from school to school, all students enrolled in public education programs across the nation will take the same assessment at the end of each school year to determine if their level of knowledge meets Common Core’s requirements to move on to the next grade level.

Again, the notion sounds great.
 

Now here’s the issue—when I said all students would be taking this assessment, I meant ALL students—including those in special education programs like my son, Cooper.

It means Cooper, who is developmentally delayed and dyslexic, will be tested and graded on the same level as other kindergarten students.

Cooper, who has been determined to be at least 18 months behind his peers in cognitive, language, social, and learning development, will be measured against children who have no delays or disabilities.

This test will determine whether or not a student will move up to the next grade—which also means that if a straight-A student fails this assessment he or she will be kept in the same grade level the next year.

Did I mention the entire test is computerized?
 

Oh and my state’s department of education doesn’t have enough money in the budget to allow schools to hire computer applications teachers?

Or the fact that no teacher or administrative staff member in the country knows what will be on the assessments?

While I agree that the idea of Common Core is an excellent way to ensure our nation’s children are receiving the best in education, the fact that children like Cooper, and especially those who have significantly more severe delays and disabilities, will be graded against children whose minds are sound is preposterous to me.

How is testing children already determined to have learning problems against those who do not helping them? How does receiving yet another piece of paper telling me my son is significantly behind his peers help me help him?

I’m afraid that surviving kindergarten won’t be so, well, elementary.

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