Go straight to the source on the Common Core

Fantastic turnout for OPTN fundraiser

To the Editor:

On behalf of Nicholas and the Our Promise to Nicholas Foundation, we would like to send out a heartfelt thank you to all of the wonderful families who came out to show their community spirit during the Not-So-Scary Halloween fundraiser on Oct. 25.

We loved to see all the ghouls and boys dressed in their favorite costumes enjoying the not-so scary festivities of the evening.

With the support of our corporate sponsors, NH Sportsplex and Anagnost Companies, along with our vendors Village Comics, Cupcakes 101, Kim Peiker from Pampered Chef, Lia Sophia, Small Smiles Pediatric Dental Practice, Merrimack Auto Sport, Bedford Martial Arts, Stonyfield Yogurt and all of our amazing volunteers, we were able to produce a fun-filled event which entertained 1,000 guests and raised $10,000, which will be added to the ongoing research fund in finding a cure for Batten disease.

We are already planning the second annual event, which will feature an extreme sports challenge area, more carnival games and bounce houses, and many more surprises to entertain our wonderful guests. We hope to see you all again on Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014.

Until then, we hope the upcoming holiday season will find you happy and healthy!

BONNIE BARNSLEY

Bedford

Go to the source on Common Core

To the Editor:

Three weeks ago, I wrote to the editor to highlight an imbalance of media coverage on the Common Core state standards. As an example, I commented on the BCTV programming on the issue.

I am far from convinced by the claim from the producer of the program that the imbalance in coverage of the issue is simply because there are more critics of the standards than proponents.

Many groups with deep knowledge of the issue – including state education leaders, state boards of education and professional associations, including the Business and Industry Association, the National Governor’s Association and the National Council of Chief State School Officers in the 45 states that have adopted the standards – are all on the “pro” side of this debate.

Personally, I agree with Superintendent Mayes’ measured logic: The CCSS are just one component of a host of guidelines school leaders consult to inform curriculum. However, Ms. Benuck suggests that I “might better serve the cause by supplying additional points of support.” While that was not my original intent, I cannot pass up the opportunity.

In 1983, the Regan administration issued a report titled “A Nation at Risk.” The report cautioned Americans that education in the U.S. was lacking compared to other nations such that “if an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war.”

The repercussions of this report have reverberated in education policy since.

Thirty years on, international assessments have consistently demonstrated the stubborn tenacity of “Nation at Risk” findings. Studies released following the 2009 PISA asserted that “out of 34 countries, the U.S. ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math.”

In studies of nations where schools have gone from mediocre to excellent (as in the case of Finland), researchers have found that quality teacher training and high standards are common factors that turn schools around.

Yet, studies also show state-generated standards can be woefully unequal state-to-state. In a 2004 study published by the Fordham Foundation, researchers evaluated state standards and found most standards could “charitably be termed ‘fair’ to ‘poor.’”

After decades of standards writing, many states were still working to get it right. Now consider the impact of these findings if you were a parent moving your children across state boundaries, as happens frequently in our highly mobile nation.

The CCSS represents an attempt to provide quality standards. They are not imposed by the national government, but in some cases are tied to Title I funds. States choose to adopt the standards or not.

New Hampshire education officials (some elected, some appointed), have chosen to adopt the standards.

These standards are not perfect, but they are reasonable. In the interest of balanced fact-finding, I encourage you to take a look at the standards on your own. They can be found here at www.corestandards.org/the-standards.

DIANNA GAHLSDORF TERRELL

Bedford