My Turn: Common Core failed our children

For the Monitor
Published: 11/4/2017 12:09:55 AM

In 2010, the New Hampshire Board of Education voted to adopt the Common Core standards in math and English, ​now known in New Hampshire as College and Career Readiness Standards.

These standards had never been used before, so they had no track record of success anywhere in the country. Compare that to states like Massachusetts​ that developed world-class academic standards. Massachusetts students not only had the best standards in the country, ​but their students also finished at the top on state standardized tests.

Bill Gates, who was a huge funder and supporter of Common Core, said that it would take about 10 years to see if Common Core standards worked. ​It didn’t take that long before parents across the United States noticed that under Common Core standards, their children were not well-​prepared for post-secondary education. Parents started networking in an effort to figure out how they could undo ​the horrible decision to adopt Common Core.

Parents in New Hampshire started contacting their representatives and senators in an effort to pass legislation that would repeal Common Core. Parents filled public hearings to show examples of the confusing curriculum that left their children in tears. They talked about having advanced degrees but still having trouble making sense of the Common Core lessons.

Fast forward to 2017​. Seven years into this mess, we can see no benefit from this expensive experiment on our kids.

The latest test scores in New Hampshire ​show a decline over previous years​. As public school enrollment declines, it’s clear that the Common Core boondoggle is another public education experiment gone bad.

Voters in New Hampshire spoke during the last election by electing Gov. Chris Sununu, who promised to scrap Common Core. He backed up that promise with action when he appointed Frank Edelblut as commissioner of education. Sadly, the education establishment fought that appointment. We’ve seen appointed members of the Board of Education continue to ignore parents who have been complaining about Common Core for years.

At what point will ​the education establishment admit this ​Common Core experiment on our kids did not work as planned? How many more parents have to withdraw their kids from their local school district? ​On how many more children are Common Core’s advocates willing to experiment?​

Common Core was adopted under Gov. John Lynch, and it was​ supported by Gov. Maggie Hassan. Their appointed state Board of Education members like Bill Duncan, Helen G. Honorow, Cindy Chagnon and Gary Groleau continue to ignore parents who want better for their children and public schools. The Board of Education has been protecting these failed standards​, and they even opposed Commissioner Edelbut reviewing them. Under Hassan, the board voted in new science standards that even Common Core supporters rejected as dumbed-​down and full of political bias.

If you support public education in New Hampshire, encourage Gov. Sununu and Commissioner Edelblut to keep fighting for our kids. They are up against an education establishment that wants to keep the dismal status quo.

Contact the New Hampshire Board of Education and tell members to stop resisting change for the better​ in our schools. Our kids deserve better than education fads and reforms that do not improve the quality of ​their education.

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

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