Educators support Common Core

To the Editor:

We believe in honoring and cultivating each student’s potential.

As educators, we recognize that a quality education does not look the same for everyone. Each student comes to us with unique qualities, abilities and needs, and we work to honor and nurture those differences.

Everyone should have the opportunity to fully develop their potential and be recognized as multifaceted individuals whose worth cannot be determined by one measure alone. The true purpose of education is to shape the future of our society by building educated citizens who are caring, healthy, productive and who are fully prepared for the life ahead of them. Fulfilling this purpose means ensuring students become lifelong learners through the creation of educational experiences that are both challenging and joyful.

As educators, we cannot remember a time when we did not function under the demands of standards and testing. One thing that has been a change more recently in our educational philosophy is that we are embracing and modeling collaboration and a team approach to guiding our students to success.

Common Core State Standards (CCSS) focus on preparing students to be college and career ready. While these standards are challenging and work as the glue across all disciplines and grade levels, they are not curriculum, they are standards. They progress from being simpler to more sophisticated and they can be utilized for students at every level and ability.

As educators, we embrace CCSS and the belief that students need to be able to apply their learning both inside and outside the classroom, think critically and deeply, and solve problems while being able to effectively communicate both process and product. Simply being able to get the right answer and to be told you are smart is no longer a commodity with our global challenges. Education is no longer limited to autonomy; not of students or educators.

Here is one example connected to literacy from Robert Podiscio in The Education Gadfly, “Nobody Loves Standards (and That’s O.K.)” (Vol. 12, No. 23): “Focusing on an item in a text and asking students to produce ‘text-to-self’ responses to literature (How do you feel about the character’s decision to hit her friend?). This approach, common in many state standards … (is) condescending; it assumes … that children cannot be engaged or successful unless they are reflecting upon personal experiences nearly to the exclusion of other subjects.

“By contrast, the Common Core standards ask students to do close, evidence-based reading of fiction and non-fiction texts, pushing them to read with clarity, depth, and comprehension. We’re no longer ignoring what we know about reading comprehension and language development.”

We believe in the education of all children and that the “we” is all of us. As educators, we want to reassure our parents, students and community that CCSS is to be embraced. Please continue your own investigation by visiting the National PTA, everychild.onevoice at pta.org, and then choose the advocacy tab and the drop-down menu to Common Core State Standards and specifically research New Hampshire.

Robin Peringer and Raquel Tomic-Beard
Nashua public school educators and Brookline residents