Alternative to Common Core in Hollis-Brookline?

To The Editor:

I have read with interest over the past several weeks letters to the editor that have vilified the Common Core state standards (CCSS). What has struck me is that for all the criticisms, there seems to be an absence of alternatives being set forth.

When I hear rhetoric describing the evils of a global economy and the need to have local control, I feel very nervous. As unpalatable as it may seem to some, we are in fact members of a world economy and our children are facing increasing global competition for employment.

Could someone who objects to the CCSS please describe to me how “local control” looks in my child’s classroom? My understanding is that New Hampshire College and Career-ready state standards were developed in a process that began over seven years ago and involves an ongoing partnership with Departments of Education in Vermont, Maine and Rhode Island. That seems like a lot of money and resources right there! I can’t even imagine the cost of a bunch of high-priced consultants who would be required to put together a comparative document to the CCSS at the “local level.” Who would fund that?

I would like to remind everyone that our towns voted down the co-op bond request for that would have added $2.60 per month to Hollis homeowners tax bills and $3.74 per month for Brookline households for the life of the 10-year bond to make the updates to Hollis Brookline High School and avoid revocation of our NEASC accreditation in spring 2015.

I am a fiscal conservative and the prospect of reinventing the wheel seems like a huge expense. As a parent and teacher, I have read the entire document and consulted with our local Hollis Brookline staff and administrators when I’ve had questions. All of those questions have been answered to my satisfaction so I see no red flags educationally speaking. The standards in the CCSS look fairly consistent with those enjoyed by Australian students where I was trained to teach. Australia consistently ranks well above the U.S. in international testing (PISA 2013).

I am asking the critics of CCSS to provide the parents of Hollis Brookline a durable alternative that addresses all of the shortcomings of CCSS and provides explicit details regarding the “higher standards” they talk about. In addition, I would ask who will be bankrolling this effort in light of continued budget cuts in our school district over the past several years?

LYNNE DOUGHERTY

Hollis