Letter: Common Core is wrong for children

(Editor’s note: The following was read to the Region 16 Board of Education June 25.)

To the editor,

Good evening, I am here tonight because many parents and I in Region 16 are very concerned about what is happening in our schools today.

In January a family member mentioned to me that there was a lot of controversy over the new Common Core standards and initiatives that our state signed onto in July of 2010. All for a chance to win Race to the Top funds, which to this day we have not received one cent. The fact that there just may be some issue, and considering we parents are the biggest stakeholders with the most to lose, I felt obligated to look into it further for my 5-year-old. Implementation began this year or last and many people I talk to have never even heard of Common Core, which is the biggest education reform in our country to date, and has been around for almost six years now. So I began to research and weigh the pros and cons.

This lead me down a very long road of reading blogs, articles, grants, government documents and even speaking to some of our top educators, including Dr. Sandra Stotsky, who was on the development panel for the Common Core standards. She was also one of five that refused to sign off on them which included the only two that had the credentials to write standards. I’ve done my research and with facts and evidence in hand I can now say with confidence that our kids, educators and residents of our small towns of Prospect and Beacon Falls have absolutely nothing to gain from this new, untested, unproven form of education.

The massive amount of standardized tests from No Child Left Behind has turned into a raging beast in Common Core, tying a single snapshot of a child’s education to high stakes for teachers, schools, and states forcing teachers to teach to the test which has been proven to stifle critical thinking.

The massive amount of data now being collected on our kids is unacceptable.

The changes in 2008 and 2012 to the FERPA law that used to protect our kids are unacceptable.

One of my biggest concerns is that the standards are truly rotten to the core. In 2010 a group of 500 top early educators signed a joint statement stating that the K-3 standards are developmentally age inappropriate. They are attempting to teach our kids the wrong things at the wrong times. After that, many experts say they are watered down leaving our kids one year behind in eighth grade and two years behind by graduation from our previous standards which were some of the best in the country. Jason Zimba, Common Core “math architect” is on YouTube video stating that kids will be community college at best with these standards taking a complete step backwards from where we were.

In 2012 Connecticut 15-year-olds olds placed near the top in the world which is all prior to Common Core. We do not have an education problem in our state.

I’m not here to push against you but instead ask you to put this on the Board of Education agenda and do your own research so you, too, will see things the way that we parents, teachers, and residents do, and we can all work together to move things in the right direction of what is best for our kids and community. We are a local control state when it comes to education and you do have the power to make this right. It won’t be something that happens overnight, but I can guarantee you that you will have the support of many parents, teachers, professors and even educational lawyers to guide us through this process. I ask that the people that we voted for on this board do what’s best for our kids and schools. I would like all this information put on the “minutes.” Thank You.

Excellent source of info on how the standards were created at: CommonCoreMovie.com. Please consider coming to next Board of Education meeting and supporting what is best for our kids and communities.

Merle Sprague  

Beacon Falls

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