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My Turn: Common Core doesn’t elevate public education

In 2010, four appointed members of the New Hampshire State Board of Education voted to adopt national standards in math and English.

Since then, resistance has been growing across the country as parents and teachers begin to see the implementation of the Common Core State Standards in their public schools. Just last week the Chicago Teachers Union passed a resolution opposing Common Core.

Common Core standards, which replaced the academic standards states had developed under No Child Left Behind, were supposed to prepare students for college or the workforce and help students who moved from state to state.

Some of the initial problems critics saw were the enormous cost to school districts, the poor quality of the standards and the data mining of private information on students.

As schools began aligning curriculum and testing students, the controversy grew more intense. At one point, the U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, referred to some of the biggest critics as “white suburban moms who – all of a sudden – their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were.”

New Hampshire Commissioner of Education Virginia Barry referred to critics, who are mainly parents, as “misinformed.”

Duncan and Barry seem to be underestimating the anger in parents and teachers who see the confusing math questions and the reduction in classical literature in favor of informational texts. There is nothing good about confusing children in mathematics, because it can lead students to private tutors and can kill the love of learning.

Sandra Stotsky and James Milgram, the only content experts on the Common Core Validation Committee, refused to sign off on Common Core citing numerous flaws.

For instance, Common Core math standards do not prepare students for college programs in the STEM field (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Why would we settle for inferior standards instead of using what we knew were the best in the nation?

The federal government bribed and coerced states to adopt Common Core standards, first through the Race to the Top grant program. Even though New Hampshire applied for the grant and agreed to adopt the standards, New Hampshire received no federal funding.

The federal government also offered states a “waiver” from No Child Left Behind. States were coerced into adopting standards, tying a teacher’s evaluation to the standardized tests and data mining private information on students.

The state of Washington recently had its “waiver” revoked because it didn’t tie teacher evaluations to student performance metrics in a timely fashion. This is why many teachers refer to this latest reform effort as an “attack on teachers.”

With all of the criticism aimed at No Child Left Behind, it seems like the best solution would have been to end that federal program. Instead, the U.S. Department Of Education ignored the law and began offering federal dollars and waivers in order to implement another education reform.

There are big names like former Florida governor Jeb Bush supporting Common Core, too. If you look at the profits he will make from Common Core, you begin to see some of the reasons he is out there pushing it.

School districts can reject Common Core, however it becomes difficult knowing the state standardized tests will be based on the standards. The New Hampshire Department of Education signed away state control of testing, too.

Teachers, child psychologists, and the top content and standards experts have called the standards and tests developmentally inappropriate for children. One teacher in New York went so far as to call Common Core child abuse. If this is true, the last thing New Hampshire should be doing is pushing this reform effort forward.

Since Gov. Maggie Hassan has not led New Hampshire to better academic standards, parents need to become more involved. If education is truly the priority everyone says it is, there is no reason we should be settling for another reform effort that puts our children and teachers in a potentially harmful situation and at the same time fails to elevate public education in New Hampshire.

(Ann Marie Banfield is the education liaison for Cornerstone Action.)

Legacy Comments16

"One teacher in New York went so far as to call Common Core child abuse." And you can find ONE scientist who denies climate change and another scientist who doesn't "believe" in evolution. In the walled off world that passes for conservative "thought" these days, that's all you need. Case closed.

Single polar anecdote? Disappointing. Nothing about content? Nothing about substance? Only "attack people who voice an opinion different than mine"- w/o looking at why?

What does "single polar anecdote" mean? Might you be referring to the just about unanimously accepted finding that the West Antarctic ice shelf is doomed to fall into the ocean thanks to melting at its edge thanks to (I guess) imaginary warming? I try not to attack people, but crackpot ideas are fair game.

TCB nailed it, if it is not in your books of absolutes, you MUST attack and demean others. Good performance.

Somebody needs to distinguish between crackpot ideas and a crackpot's ideas. One is an attack and demeaning; the other not at all. It's obvious you know nothing about me because I believe in no absolutes outside the realm of math & physics.

You obviously did not actually read the report on the Antarctic ice shelf as you spout doomsday theory again FACT"The collapse (retreat of the grounding line) began about 20,000 years ago. It is irreversible because “the WAIS could continue to retreat even in the absence of further external forcing” and there are no topographic obstacles to prevent it from flowing downhill into the ocean." gracchus post was disingenuous at the least.

Actually I did an admittedly quick scan of the LITERATURE, not the "report." The overwhelming conclusion is that climate change / global warming including human induced climate change is contributing. Of course that means little or nothing in the BestPres black and white world. To return to the original argument: Why would one campaign for inferior education? Now there's a question of motive for you.

Finally a good article on the Federal Govt takeover of Local schools

It's an editorial, not an article. Article = researched material accepted as fact. Editorial = opinion. I only say this because you seem to again be blending these two concepts.

This is pathetic! Seems the political masters command, "find a way to villainize the Koch brothers - every day and in any way" (apologies to Emile Coue) but is is getting ridiculous. What next: they invented cancer and original sin? The Koch brothers are not monarchs. Does their wealth yield influence -yes -just like Geo. Soros, Bill Gates and the now discredited ex-VP. But a small number of rich do not realty micromanage our daily lives. Or is that what some really want- a father figure to run their lives? Looking for single-causes for all the world's ailments will lead to faulty assumptions and toxic plans. Real world analysis paints a more complex picture and remedies require getting off our posteriors and actually participating. Yes- obviously influential people and swaying large numbers with disinformation are parts of those pictures. My hope is our readers can focus of real issues, causes and effects.

The Koch brothers and their ilk have one goal, the elimination of public education altogether .

LOL, that is hillarious. Have you considered standup comedy as a fall back during retirement?

there are places you can go to get help for Koch Syndrome.

Because they fear an educated populace just like Hitler, Stalin did - and like the Islamic terrorists do today. And yes, I just went there.

Check out the "Friends of Cornerstone" on their website. Claiming to be non-partisan, they coordinate exclusively with the extreme right-wing who want to decimate public education in order to keep everyone stupid and compliant. Koch money maybe?

Oh my god, they want responsibility and they want to change the folks who are trying to indoctrinate instead of educate. They have a whopping budget of about $150,000 and Testerman earns about $45,000 per year. What a threat....I checked and Koch money seems not to be involved with this group but when compared to these 1990 to 2014 donations: ActBlue – Donations: $97,192,340, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees – Donations: $60,667,379, National Education Association – Donations: $53,594,488, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers: AFL-CIO-Donations: $44,478,789, United Auto Workers-Donations: $41,667,858, Carpenters and Jointers Union - Donations: $39,260,371, Service Employees International Union -Donations: $38,395,690 Koch brothers same time period $18,445,000. Your red herring, strawman attempt is as pitiful as Harry Reid, who really needs to go under pyschological examination.

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