Letter: Common Core

April 27, 2014 

Recently, a story about a "frustrated father" who "obliterated" Common Core made the rounds on the Internet. Most people find the standards innocuous when they read them. It is really the simultaneous shift in teaching methodology to address the standards that is the true source of controversy. Unfortunately, I believe the conversation about the standards is now toxic and counterproductive.

Many who are critical of the standards are in highly technical fields. Ironically, I believe this makes them sometimes less qualified to criticize because they, like myself, deeply understand traditional algorithms. They are like elite cyclists criticizing the use of training wheels by small children. To be clear, many methodologies are inappropriate in advanced classes, but they make sense for students who don't understand fundamental concepts like place value. These same critics should note that these methods are modeled after long-standing and commonly used strategies in higher-performing countries.

As a 15-year veteran of public, private and magnet schools, I have seen students who are woefully unprepared for the demands of the workforce, yet they pass the ISAT and graduate nevertheless. Let's not let an opportunity to fix this problem be sabotaged by xenophobia and political rhetoric.


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