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Sunday, May 29, 2016
Look out for those ‘Suburban moms’
(Page 2 of 3)
Howard Schwach

Let’s make one thing clear at the outset. No one of the parents or school staff members who I heard speak at those meetings was opposed to the new Common Core standards. Nobody is opposed to students learning to think, to aggregate information and then use that information to made an informed opinion, to move up the hierarchy of skills necessary for living in the modern world.

What they are opposed to is the draconian testing program that comes with the new standards, the scripted lessons that teachers are made to use, the constant practice tests and the pressure the high-stakes tests put on young students — especially those with special needs or with language problems.

Listen to their voices:

“Few people would argue against an enhanced curriculum that stresses critical thinking and writing, not even white suburban moms,” wrote one Huntington Station parent. There are, however, two serious problems: the way it was introduced and the testing itself, which is more advanced than the curriculum. The tests are far beyond the developmental ability of most children to realistically succeed.”

Another comment, this from a parent in Melville, asks some critical questions that neither the state nor the federal government has answered.

Which professional educators with experience working with children participated in the design of the Common Core? Where was the peer review in professional journals? Where has Common Core been piloted or tested? How do we know it will have a positive effect on education? What are the connections between those who developed the Common Core and corporations? If it was developed under grants from foundations led by corporate leaders, how can we follow the money?

Don’t expect any of those questions to be answered soon — or ever.

Howard Schwach


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