More on Common Core Standards debate

More on Common Core Standards debate: In June the NYT published an incoherent critique of the standards by two New York City professors, here: “Who’s Minding the Schools?“ . Mary Gwen and I sent the following letter to the NYT Editor on June 11, 2013, which the Times chose not to publish. Viva social media! Here’s our text:

Re: “Who’s Minding the Schools,” June 9, 2013

Professors Hacker and Dreifus offer a meandering and inaccurate whine about Common Core standards.

As members of the boards of education in Kentucky and Louisville, respectively, we have been closely involved in our state’s decision to be the first to adopt, implement and test to these standards. From this perspective the assertion that Common Core was adopted with “hardly any public discussion” is simply ludicrous. 45 states, through their constitutional processes, worked for years to create, review and adopt the standards. That word might not have filtered through to Political Science departments in New York City does not invalidate this effective work; the United States has a federal system, and this is what state-level action looks like.

If there is a substantive point in the professors’ critique, it is that the standards are too high and will lead to disappointment. Kentucky’s test results, in which the percentage scoring at a proficient level did indeed drop substantially compared to the prior, lower standard, are pointed to in support of this fear. However, parents and voters in our state have so far embraced the tougher measure. We see this as confirmation that parents want their students to learn at a high level, not to receive high scores that mean nothing.

Mary Gwen Wheeler
David A. Jones, Jr.
Louisville, KY

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