To the Editor:
The people of Bayonne deserve to know that they are not alone in their opposition to Common Core. Educational experts and renowned academics from coast to coast join them in rejecting the use of these so-called standards in our schools.
Common Core is an abbreviation referring to the common core state standards initiative. They are a set of national standards for English and math that were adopted sight unseen by 46 states in exchange for a waiver from the “No Child Left Behind” policies promulgated by the Bush Administration. They are designed to put America on the road to a national curriculum, and to take educational responsibility away from local school districts.
According to Robert S Eitel, a nationally respected academician, “These standards and assessments will ultimately alter the course of elementary and secondary study across the nation. They run the risk of making state and local school systems little more than administrative agents. This raises a fundamental question about whether the Federal Department of Education is exceeding its statutory boundaries”.
The reason for this sincere concern and growing outcry is that state and local school districts must adopt these unproven standards whole, and that they require instruction to be substantially identical across all regions of our nation. This means that states must adopt Common Core as is – word for word – and cannot subtract from, or add anything to it. In other words, teachers will be denied their right to do what they do best, teach. And to teach in such a manner that they bring out the best in all their students with individual attention.
Recently, the Board of the New York Teachers Union unanimously voted to withdraw its support for Common Core state standards, and went so far as to pass a vote of no confidence against the New York State Education Commissioner who implemented them.
Even the NJEA, our nation’s largest teachers union, withdrew its wholesale support from Common Core, and declared that this program will not succeed without a major course correction and intense proactive input from teachers.
Why are educational professionals so adamantly opposed to Common Core? Because this educational experiment was not developed by teachers, but by bureaucrats. Not by English and math teachers who know their subjects, but by corporate types and employees of publishing companies.
That is why our country’s second largest teachers union, the American Federation of Teachers, has come out and said that the standards might have been born of good intentions, but they fall short due to outside meddling and a reliance on inappropriate standardized tests. This has prompted the Chicago teachers union to conclude that the common core mandate represents an overreach of federal power into your personal privacy, as well as into the classroom. “Teachers no longer have a say in their classroom. Classrooms are now being run by a bunch of politicians in Washington. Common Core eliminates creativity in the classroom, and impedes collaboration. We also know that high-stakes standardized testing is designed to rank and sort our children into groups. This contributes significantly to both racial discrimination and the ever-widening achievement gap among students in American schools.” That is the conclusion of the teachers in Chicago.
In fact, Katen Lewis, President of the Chicago Teachers Union, sums up her opposition and speaks for many by saying: “Common Core was developed by non-practitioners of education -such as testing curriculum publishers and certain social reform foundations – whose priorities better reflect the interests of corporations, rather than the best interests and priorities of teachers, students, and parents.”
I applaud her sentiments, and remind all that this is just the beginning of the fury over Common Core. I urge everyone in Bayonne to stand up for our teachers, students, and parents by standing up for the best interests of our educational system. I urge everyone to stand up and say, “No More To Common Core.”
Bayonne School Board Choice