It is time for teachers to speak out in spite of intimidation and threats of professional discipline both real and perceived. These three teachers have joined others here in St. Tammany who have taken that step because their professional conscience demands they advocate for their students. Will you encourage YOUR teachers to express their concerns?
This letter to the editor was submitted and distributed for public consumption. I felt it was important to share with you.
By now we have all heard the claims that Common Core “State” Standards (CCSS) purport to achieve for our children. Advocates of CCSS have been quick to insult the opposition, accusing them of being conspiracy theorists, tea party affiliates, extremists, religious zealots, ineffective and irresponsible teachers, or political game players. But what if no evidence supports any of these accusations?
Teachers and parents have valid concerns with CCSS. We understand the connection of standards with standardized tests and curriculum. As teachers have been implementing these standards over the past two years, numerous concerns have surfaced. Educational leaders respond, “Stay the course,” with no modifications allowed. Their only remedy is more training and resources, neither of which addresses the actual concerns.
The recurring local and national concerns experienced with CCSS are:
· Developmentally inappropriate standards K-2nd grades
· Students unable to master the standards according to the proscribed pacing
· Little time for mastery of basic math facts, with over-emphasis on visual math strategies
· Too light on basic phonics, with over-emphasis on whole language
· Parents alienated from helping children with their homework
· Students exhibiting unnecessary, unhealthy levels of stress and frustration.
As professional educators we request:
· Developmentally-appropriate high standards
· Implementation of researched, tested and proven educational practices
· A balanced approach to instruction (more phonics and basic math facts)
· Math strategies and critical thinking skills to supplement, not replace, instruction
· Flexibility to individualize instruction for individual students, and challenge students within a healthy stress zone
· Acceptance of students’ uniqueness, rather than attempted standardization
· More autonomy in developing lessons
· The use of data to guide, not define, us
Our educational future is too important to blindly accept controversial, experimental education reform. Our children do not deserve to be treated as guinea pigs. If CCSS were as effective as
claimed, why are they the center of national debate?
As professional educators, it would be irresponsible to NOT bring our concerns to public attention.
Teachers: Marla Baldwin, Calcasieu Parish
Deanna Russell, Beauregard Parish
Leslie Truax, Calcasieu Parish
"If a child struggles to clear the high bar at five feet, she will not become a "world class" jumper because someone raised the bar to six feet and yelled "jump higher," or if her “poor” performance is used to punish her coach." - - CommonSense
"I believe in standardizing automobiles. I do not believe in standardizing human beings. Standardization is a great peril which threatens American culture.”—— Albert Einstein