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I urge parents to cautiously embrace Common Core & stay involved

  • Published in Letters

To The Daily Sun,

Before succumbing to the misinformation surrounding Common Core, I urge everyone to simply go to the source and read for yourself what this curriculum does and does not include. Details including grade-by-grade standards can be found at www.corestandards.org (not commoncore.org or other variations). There is no doubt that America's educational house is decaying and Common Core offers a starting point for producing a future generation that can compete on a global stage in math, science and technology. Common Core is the culmination of 20 years of efforts by business professionals, educators, and parents which has received support from the likes of Bill Gates, Jeb Bush, Dell Computers, Boeing, Intel, Microsoft, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Governors Association. The U.N. and Federal Reserve have nothing to do with this!

Set aside the fear mongering and read it for yourself. Common Core lays out an attainable, yet challenging set of educational objectives designed to produce a workforce that is able to compete in todays' world of high tech and global competition. For example, please examine the mathematical standards set forth at www.corestandards.org. Mathematics, in particular, represent objective, timeless and necessary truths that apply uniformly and equally to any citizen regardless of political affiliation, geographic location, or age. Fractions mean the same in Iowa and Alabama as they do in California and Texas. For my fifth grader this means setting the goal of learning the basics of algebraic thinking, understanding fractions, geometric measurement and analyzing patterns and relationships (quoted directly from the curriculum guidelines). What is wrong with setting clear goals and objective that have been developed with the input of future employers like the companies mentioned above? Nothing.

Perhaps it is good that Common Core has been attacked by conservatives and progressives alike, but as the Alton School Board rejects Common Core it is worthwhile to note that according to the yearly NECAP Mathematical And Reading test results, Alton Elementary schools ranked 177 out of 219 in the state and fell 23 spots from the previous year. Meanwhile, Alton Middle Schools ranked 74 out of 126 and fell 15 spots in the same year.

Unless there is a better alternative that can be implemented immediately, I urge everyone with school-aged children to cautiously embrace Common Core, take an active role in your childs' education and refrain from crying that "the sky is falling." At the first sign of some subversive agenda you will be the first to know and you will be in the perfect position to shout to the rooftops with clear evidence of some Orwellian agenda. In the meantime, my hunch is that you may find your child is better prepared to take on the challenges of the 21st century. After all, nothing is more powerful than an enlightened, engaged and enthusiastic parent in a childs' life.

Mark McCarthy