Wednesday, July 30, 2014

‘Parents, be afraid’ letter

From page A5 | April 23, 2014 |


I seldom react to letters to the editor. We all have the right to an opinion. However the subject letter of “Parents, be afraid” caused me some real concern because I do not believe that it accurately reflects reality.

First, Indiana has been caught up in a political battle over Common Core Standards that has nothing to do with the standards. Nothing in the decision was associated with their “abuse of children.” A discussion of the politics associated with the change is beyond the scope of this letter. However, an Indiana state law passed in 2013 to support the change dictates that the “Common Core Standards” shall be used as the base model for any change to ensure that the U. S Department of Education will continue to grant the federal flexible waver. That ensures they continue to get federal funding. Nothing says that states cannot have higher standards.

The “facts” listed in Ms. Lowdert’s discussion of Common Core Standards are so wide ranging and unsupported that it would be a waste of time to cover them all so I will just address the first one. “The ‘head’ of the Common Core board has no educational background and stands to make millions of dollars off of Common Core.” If you look at the president and vice president of the board as well as the board members, all but one is a Ph.D. in Education or a related educational field. The outlier is a lawyer who began his career as a teacher and is on the board of a major university. Members include individuals who specialized in early childhood education, mathematics education, have taught in the classroom and have served as principals and superintendents of schools. Most are serving as their state superintendents of schools. These are individuals who have dedicated their lives to educating our children.

We live in a state that ranked at the top of our nation in the quality of education for many years. We no longer have that distinction. In 2013, we were down around 35th in the ranking of states in our country. We have fallen a long way for many reasons. It is time we took a realistic look at what will be necessary to bring us back to the top and afford our children a chance to be successful when they go out into the market place.

I am a retired master teacher with 30 years in the classroom teaching elementary and middle school children. I currently volunteer in my grandson’s classroom and have observed the Common Core Standards applied in kindergarten and first grade. I am impressed with what they are learning and the fact that they are enjoying the process. Not all children have the same gifts but I have never observed children crying and frustrated by the material they are expected to learn. Certainly there have been no “meltdowns.”

I am excited by the way my grandson’s teachers are generating a warm, supportive and enriched learning environment for him. Please keep it up.




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