Another perspective on Common Core

To the Editor:

Last week I attended a learning session in Concord on the Common Core Curriculum.

I came armed with questions and concerns that friends and constituents posed. The room was full of legislators, school administrators and concerned citizens. The conversation was certainly not one sided. Dr. Marc Tucker immediately addressed the criticism of privacy and data mining and quickly alleviated my concerns. The reporting requirements are no different than those required with our current testing.

Dr. Tucker set the stage from the 1970s economy, where much of manufacturing moved overseas to the highly competitive global market we operate in today. As a consultant, I can attest that most of the companies I work with have entities in Europe, China, India and Brazil. This is not only due to labor cost but to a new market of consumers. There is no doubt we are a global society and we want our children to be competitive in it.

Dr. Tucker talked about how the U.S. spends more on education without necessarily having the best outcomes. Some of the issues are students coming in with different knowledge levels forcing teachers to re-teach subjects to catch up students. In addition, many students do not have the skills to prepare them for career and college.

Common core was initiated by governors, business and educators. It focuses on standards that will help our students achieve a level of learning and then build from there. “The standards are not a curriculum. They are a clear set of shared goals and expectations for what knowledge and skills will help our students succeed.” It is not an effort to dumb down, but an effort to build higher standards and teach necessary skills to prepare our students for their future.

I am not an educator but I value education and know it has been critical in my life. As a mother, I want my child to have the skills to compete in tomorrow’s workplace – a work place that constantly changes. Many of the jobs our children will work in have yet to be created. Because there is so much change and innovation our children need to have skills, such as leadership, critical thinking, problem solving and working in groups to achieve goals.

I don’t know about New York, but I can speak for the quality of education in the Hollis-Brookline School District where our seniors have more than 90 percent college entry rate.

A criticism that I am perplexed about is the idea that because the Bill Gates foundation supports Common Core this is a bad thing. Throughout history those that are well off have chosen to give back to society. Carnegie Mellon, the Ford Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative and the Holloways. They are all philanthropist. Without their support many worthy causes would not be funded,

It would be nice if those of us that don’t have as much to give financially could instead use our energies to offer support or constructive, viable criticism with the goals of improving education and helping our children succeed.

For more information on Common Core, please see the following link www.corestandards.org/resources/myths-vs-facts.

REPRESENTATIVE MELANIE LEVESQUE

Brookline and Mason