To the Editor:
The US Department of Education and the State Department of Education want the public to believe that the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) education reforms simply need more time to work out the kinks of implementation. But here are some facts:
1. That the CCSS were developed and written by think tank lobbyists in conjunction with the testing corporations,
2. That CCSS are not as “rigorous” and do not promote “high critical thinking” as their rhetoric claims,
3. That college and career ready standards as proposed start at a wistful end-point and are inappropriate at many grade levels, but most obviously in the early years where emerging basic skills are taught,
4. That classroom teachers across the state are overwhelmingly opposed to the Common Core as a “one-size-fits-all” set of instructional standards that will take individualization, creativity, and artistry away from teaching,
5. That teachers are similarly opposed to the unnecessary and redundant “high stakes testing” where students spend more learning time prepping for and taking tests than vigorously engaging in the true process of learning,
6. That the “value-added measurement” model by which teachers will be evaluated based on their students' test scores is flawed and discredited by multiple research studies, including that of the American Statistical Association,
7. That over 400 teachers representing 41,000 public school teachers belonging to the CT Education Association voted overwhelming at their recent Convention to “push back” against this current education reform agenda,
8. That principals throughout the state have mixed reaction to CCSS and its implementation, but are reluctant to speak out for what is in the best interests of students in fear of reprisal from local BOEs and district superintendents,
9. That superintendents have uniformly lost touch with sound educational philosophy and best practice in order to acquiesce to reform-minded state commissioners, most of whom have little to no classroom teaching experience.
Sadly, we could go on and on, but realize that long letters are rarely read in their entirety. Suffice it to say, before you accept the SDE's propaganda as outlined in the Commissioner's Communication Tool-kit, do some of your own research: follow Diane Ravitch's blog or Jonathan Pelto's “Wait, What?” blog, and make up your own mind. It is important, because if this travesty of a reform package gets implemented, it will deprive a generation of students of a quality education. It is our job as parents and citizens of today's and tomorrow's children to understand the underlying motives and ask probing questions about what is really going down in education across our state today.
Jack Bestor and Mary Burnham
24 Walnut Tree Hill Road, Sandy Hook May 18, 2014