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My Turn: The Common Core is right for a STEM career

Have you heard that the Common Core math standards don’t prepare our children for STEM careers? Don’t believe it.

Preparing students for careers in science, technology, engineering and math has been one of Gov. Maggie Hassan’s highest education priorities. She emphasized the importance of the Common Core in her State of the State address and went on to announce her new STEM task force.

New Hampshire businesses thinks the new math standards get it right, too. The Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Coalition for Business and Education, New Hampshire’s Advanced Manufacturing Educational Advisory Council and many CEOs have all endorsed the Common Core.

Thousands of educators and experts participated in developing the Common Core State Standards for math. Hundreds worked on and gave feedback to the various committees involved. The presidents of every major mathematical society in America say they think the standards are right. The New Hampshire Teachers of Mathematics thinks so as well.

Actually, most every math teacher you talk to thinks it provides the preparation our students need – except James Milgram, a retired math professor who travels the country oposing the Common Core.  

Milgram recently submitted testimony to the House Education Committee in support of the several anti-Common Core bills sponsored by a group of liberty legislators. He spends the bulk of this testimony telling the committee some ancient history about the math standards in California, where he lives, and a lot of inside baseball stories about who said what to whom as the Common Core standards were being developed.

But Milgram’s testimony about how bad the Common Core is does not actually critique even one of the actual standards.

In fact, after many pages of information not relevant to New Hampshire, Milgram concludes by saying, “In spite of the issues raised above, it is true, first that Core Standards are considerably better than the old New Hampshire math standards, and second, that much of the material in them is very well done. In fact Core Standards are better than the standards of 90 percent of the states.”

Then he concludes that sentence by saying that all those political problems make the Common Core standards “entirely unsuitable for state adoption.”

His recommendation is that New Hampshire put together a few good math teachers from “top New Hampshire universities such as Dartmouth” and tweak the Common Core standards.

Actually, math teachers from schools at all levels all over the state have already done that. Guided by the state Department of Education, they commented on early drafts and saw their comments used.

And the process continues today. The annual conference of New Hampshire math teachers next month is entirely devoted to the Common Core. Many math teachers discuss best practices in statewide networks the New Hampshire Department of Education has set up.

Day-to-day, math and science teachers all over the state meet constantly in their schools to figure out the best way to use the new standards in their classrooms. And they’ll tell anyone who asks that they appreciate the Common Core standards.

As the Alton School Board was voting to reject the Common Core, Richard Kirby, a sixth-grade English and mathematics teacher at Alton Central School, told the board that the Alton Teachers Association welcomes Common Core. According to the Laconia Sun, Kirby said, “It offers new challenges to students to become problem-solvers, critical thinkers and technologically literate. It raises the bar for grade levels and individuals.”

Carol Marino, a sixth-grade math teacher at Sanborn Regional Middle School in Newton, told me, “The Common Core is much more focused. We can spend more time on a topic and really delve into it deeper. And we have continuity across the grades. It just makes so much more sense to me.”

As Dave Juvet, senior vice president of the BIA, said when a sponsor of the anti-Common Core legislation asked if he had read the critics of the Common Core, “My belief is they represent a small, small, small minority of those who worked on the development of the Common Core standards.”

(Bill Duncan of New Castle is the founder of the advocacy group Advancing New Hampshire Public Education.)

Legacy Comments26

The Obamacare of Education.......HEADLINES: 1) Is this Common Core math question the worst math question in human history?Read more: 2) This Could Be One of the Best Cases Ever Made Against Common Core – No One Expected It to Come From a High School Student 3) NY Lawmakers Want Education Board to Delay Common Core 4) Idaho Parents, Educators Speak Out Against Common Core 5) CT State Senator to Introduce Bill to Stop Common Core ...... Common Core says Lincoln’s religion was “liberal”. That means we must separate liberals from state...I am all for that

Common Core will put our kids 2 years behind where they are now. Everything is delayed, be it teaching decimals, division, algebra etc. Like the ACA, you folks have no clue what is in it.

Common Core will put our kids 2 years behind where they are now. Everything is delayed, be it teaching decimals, division, algebra etc. Like the ACA, you folks have no clue what is in it.

Actually say what, less educated and informed individuals are more likely to believe what the govt tells them. That is how the ACA was sold to them. Lied to the folks about keeping their insurance, and repeated the mantra of affordable health care. left out the fact that the networks are narrow, you pay more out of pocket, and if your drugs are not generic, you will pay out of pocket for them also. That is what happens when folks put their trust in govt. Govt has an agenda, and preaches to the uninformed, no matter what party is in control.

What does this off topic reply have to do with the story? Absolutely nothing but hot air, per usual.

Everything is about Obamacare. All Republicans have been given the message, no matter what the topic bring up Obamacare. That is what they are going to run on this Nov. That is why they didn't shut the government down again, It hurt their poll numbers so much.

Reps have quite a bit to run on. The ACA just happens to be the topic of discussion that the left wants to avoid at all costs.

Of course they can run on Benghazi, or the IRS whatever the top topic on Fox is everyday. The one thing they can't run on are their accomplishments in Congress.

They can run on the economy, jobs, taxes, failed programs, lies told by this administration and the debt.

Exactly, that is what I said.

Who you talking to gdn1? If it is me, my response was to say what.

Please tell me how Common Core prepares students for STEM careers when they include no precalculus or calculus. U.S. government data shows that only one out of every fifty prospective STEM majors who being their undergraduate math coursework at the precalculus level or LOWER will earn a bachelor's degree in a STEM area. Common Core may prepare students for the community colleges, but where is the preparation for the selective colleges? Please tell me how Common Core prepares our students for those colleges, when other countries' math standards still excel over the U.S.'s standards. Maybe Mr. Duncan feels that preparation for a community college or career is just fine and a life time of repeating, "Do you want fries with that?" is perfectly acceptable. It shouldn't be acceptable to our parents, teachers, or students. Not at all.

The issues with CC have been spun by the left. They never seem to discuss what is actually in it. You never hear them talk about introducing Algebra a year behind and they never discuss any of the guidelines. The idea that just the left want our kids to have a great education is also a fallacy. We all pay school taxes and want what is best for our kids. We have sat through many experiments with education over the years and most of those new teaching methods have failed. We also see our tax bills go up to support more programs at school that have nothing to do with education. CC like the ACA is another idea from the left that nobody has a clue what is in it. And the ones that do are slammed for putting the information out there. When you trust your govt, this is what you get. More costly failed programs. Many states have dumped CC because of cost and low test results, and teachers are about to find out what will happen when they are evaluated, that is when CC actually figures out how to evaluate teacher performance. One more thing, if you cannot teach the basics, how in the heck can you teach critical thinking?

The poster has it backward: "the issues with CC" are being spun by the far right. From claims that Common Core originated with the Obama administration, to claims that it represents a takeover or usurpation of state control of education to the oft-repeated claim that CC standards are watered down and weaker than those they're replacing ( Milgram acknowledges in the article that is untrue). None of those claims are accurate. For instance, the claim that "many states have dumped CC because of cost and low test results": at best there have been two years of test results in a few areas that were earlier adopters of CC standards--too little time to draw any meaningful conclusions about CC. If a few states or districts are pulling out of CC ( I think 46 states had adopted all or most of the standards), that is likely due to politics more than cost. But it certainly isn't based on results. NH, for example, doesn't begin testing based on CC standards until 2015. The main concern regarding CC should be that because the new standards are more rigorous, tests results based on them are bound to be poor at first. This will give those who routinely bash public education another excuse to attack teachers and public schools. The tests, like the NECAP tests before them, are not "norm-based", but criterion-referenced--test results will be based on what the CC developers think all students should know and be able to do. The tests at every grade level will be challenging to our students, as teachers and students will only have had a year to implement the standards in their classrooms. I believe the first round of NY state test results had a passing rate of 33%. One other issue regarding the standards is that they may place too great an emphasis on skills needed for college readiness. I'd like to see a renewed emphasis on vocational educational programs that give students another way into STEM programs, as well as another avenue into apprenticeship programs for the building and machine-tool trades.

Ravich..member of the "far right"...LOL............

The 3 claims I mentioned are all arguments the right is using--and they're misleading if not all wrong. Ravitch has other concerns, which I share, regarding the corporate backing for CC and the fact that many of its strongest proponents (including Arne Duncan) see charter schools and privatized, non-union schools as the wave of the future for American K-12 education. Arne Duncan is not much of a friend to public education, and Ravitch has done a great job exposing the fraud that is privatization. Her new book on the topic is just out, and I'm looking forward to reading it.

Let's hope you are correct, unions have no place in the education of our children. Either you can teach or you can't, if you can't teach you need to be terminated and find a new occupation. Period. We don't need shielding of folks just going through the motions. I cheered today about the decimation of the union at VW. Unions had a place once but now represent mediocre folks getting the "max for the minimum"; that goes for state employees too.

Bruce Currie..The far right "claims that CC standards are watered down and weaker than those they're replacing"...Ravitch..."Massachusetts, for example, the state standards were superior and well tested but were ditched anyway and replaced with the Common Core."....Like I said...Ravitch must be the "far right"....

Massachusetts is one of only two or three states that had higher standards in some areas than CC does. Ravitch is not making that claim for CC regarding the other states. But right-wing critics are--but as usual with a dearth of evidence. For instance, the issue of high school calculus is a canard--no where does CC say that calculus should not be taught in high school. The CC standards are expectations for all students, so include 3 years of high school math as a minimum requirement.

In Texas, they were urged to adopt the Common Core standards before they were written. Higher..lower..who cares! Just adopt them already. According to Ravitch "Forty-six states and the District of Columbia signed on, not because the Common Core standards were better than their own, but because they wanted a share of the federal cash."...Isnt that subverting current law???? Isnt that in fact bribery??? Eh.. par for the course from the Obama regime...

The states pretty much had no choice about accepting CC. The funds for Title One and other federal funds were going to be removed if states did not accept CC. In other words, the govt told states, accept CC or give up your federal funds. States are dropping out because of cost, and many are frustrated that school districts are not telling them what is in CC. That drop out rate will increase. The standards for CC are lowered. The focus is on critical thinking not basics. The standards for math are very low, and English has been dumb down also in regards to what materials will be used. I can see where Bruce would love CC. It is all about govt dictating the material taught and removing choice and control from the states.

Bruce would like anything that means that government could be the great equalizer. Most teachers are not in favor of Common Core but then again they don't like the NECAP as it measures how well they deliver course material. I am impressed that in the fourth and fifth grade my kids learned the basics of algebra. When I was in school we did not cover that until the 8th grade and high school. NECAP measuring what students should know is not a bad thing, in fact to function in life, it is a good thing. Critical thinking is necessary but Common Core in the social studies arena, has a left leaning slant. It preaches political correctness, progressives love that. I do agree with Currie that we need emphasis on trades. If we are ever going to rebuild our manufacturing, we need strong trades training and education. Not all students shoud go to college. The numbers will degrees and no job illustrates that a college education is pretty much not necessary. It means nothing. Some NH teachers will love this as they can preach global warming and infuse their reality into young minds. It should not be that way. One of my kids teachers found out that my child was reading Rush Limbaugh's childrens book and she had read it too. Many of the kids in the class asked if they could discuss it but she pretty much said that the school would not allow it although she felt it was an excellent reference source. I am against CC because at this stage, it is experimental and we ought not experiment with their futures. But some NH teachers are chomping at the bit to indoctrinate, I hear it starts with those folks in the fifth grade.

Skipping past the ad hominem.... "most teachers are not in favor of Common Core"? Where did you get that from? Many teachers may have reservation about implementing Common Core too quickly, but that's not the same thing as opposing CC in principle--teachers are in favor of strong standards. I've often commented about the benefits of NCLB, and the improvements it's made to education. But it was designed to have all schools fail at some point--by raising the percentage of those deemed "proficient" every 2-3 years ( an under-reported fact), Had it continued in its original form, eventually every school and every district would have been deemed a failure, when the expectations for proficiency neared 100%. Individual states wrote their own tests--and many were far easier than Massachusetts'.The new CC standards are uniformly rigorous--as are the tests. So the national playing field is leveled. But that doesn't mean that test results won't be mis-used as a justification for a renewed push for private, for profit schools to replace public schooling. I'm looking forward to reading Diane Ravitch's new book (just out) on the topic. She's both an opponent of CC and a staunch defender of public education- she wasn't always, but she saw the light, in the form of the lack of accountability for results, and the high pay of the executives/"entrepreneurs" in the "for-profits" ed. biz, and the low pay of those actually down in the trenches.

“It offers new challenges to students to become problem-solvers, critical thinkers and technologically literate." But you see, that's not what some of our politicians want. It's hard to bamboozle your way past a critically thinking problem-solver.... so it's better to just cast the whole thing as an attempt to indoctrinate our children with socialist/communist propaganda. (Cuz you know, socialism and communism are the same very bad thing.) Hmmm. I've noticed that if a socialist label is going to get thrown, it's usually toward people who are more highly educated. I wonder why that is.

Why? Because less educated and informed individuals are easily led to believe anything Fax news tells them to.

First and foremost it is under funded and a mandate, the very thing that progressives railed about No Child Left Behind. It is hypocritical of progressives to support this. Now, the program from a math standpoint is not political but the literature part where students will now read non-fiction and focus on social writing is controversial. Moreover, some of the history books talk about the Pilgrims as white conquerers, Kuster as trying to oppress native Americans and they taught him a lesson, reparations to blacks, references to "social justice", global warming and secular humanism and related topics. This is where CC does preach ideology. Inferring that we destroyed the culture of Native Americans, etc, might be true but it is too easy in hindsight to look at this five generations later and put down our forefathers. I know that is how progressives think and operate but honestly, it is not what we ought to teach. Whatever happened to progressive tolerance, inclusion, forgiveness. Why has it turned to shaming others and driving wedges between different people. CC is indoctrination.

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