To The Daily Sun,
This letter is in response to Rep. Jane Cormier's recent submission regarding Common Core state education standards. Rep. Cormier made several assertions that are misleading at best and downright inaccurate at worst. As a former member of the N.H. Professional Standards Board and retired educator, I think your readers deserve a more complete picture.
Common Core has been, and will remain, a state-based program. Each state retains full and complete authority to implement Common Core standards for its schools and can withdraw from teaching Common Core standards at any time. It is a set of standards, not a curriculum that is being forced into our schools. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (R) explained it like this: in football, one example of a standard is a team needs to advance the ball downfield 10 yards for a first down; a curriculum is the playbook each team uses to accomplish that goal.
Assessment is one component of Common Core, as Rep. Cormier states, but it is not its sole purpose. The true purpose of Common Core is to update educational standards so that students can fully engage in our 21st century economy by thinking critically and solving problems. Rep. Cormier also suggests that increased computerization to analyze and grade Common Core tests will cost taxpayers money. Even if this were the case, increased access to technology in the classroom is a sound investment in a student's education. Students will be more capable of entering the workforce or enrolling in college upon graduation from high school, lessening the likelihood that they will need to rely on government-funded entitlement programs, ultimately saving taxpayer dollars.
The claim that Common Core standards are less rigorous than current standards is not borne out by the facts. Common Core standards require teachers to instill a deeper knowledge and understanding of the curriculum to students than current standards in many states. For example, by third grade students will be expected to be able to multiply and divide within 100 and understand the relationship between products and quotients. They must also be able to identify nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs in sentences and explain how each contributes to overall sentence structure. Any third grader who can do all that is in pretty good shape. Because these rigorous standards are "common", students who move to another Common Core state will be on a more level playing field than is currently the case.
Rep. Cormier seems to think that students will be chained to a desk reading federal regulations or government manuals for hours on end. In reality, informational texts will not "take over" literature as part of the English curriculum. Common Core standards require that at least 50 percent of a student's reading curriculum come from works of the great American and English literature texts, including "The Grapes of Wrath" and "Pride and Prejudice". Common Core examples of "informational texts" include Alexis de Tocqueville's "Democracy in America", speeches by American presidents and the Declaration of Independence. The purpose of teaching students to read and analyze informational texts is to prepare them for thinking critically about original material, which is about 80 percent of the reading and writing required in the workplace.
Common Core does not "data mine" our schools, nor does it retrieve and disseminate students' private information. States retain private information about students now and will continue to do so under Common Core. What is sent to the federal government are data related to overall student body performance and progress on assessment testing, very similar to the current reporting requirements under No Child Left Behind.
Common Core is not a "national curriculum," nor does it attempt to subvert the authority of states and local school districts to teach its students. Rep. Cormier's town of Alton, just like the other towns in Belknap County and statewide, will continue to be able to determine school curriculum (it retains control of the "playbook" as Gov. Huckabee would put it), it simply needs to ensure it is teaching to the standards adopted under Common Core.
Rep. Cormier is under the impression that Common Core is a progressive "power grab," an attempt to subvert local control and implement a federal brainwashing of our students. The truth is that Common Core is a voluntary state-based, non-partisan, performance-driven step forward toward educating our students to prosper and thrive in our modern world. Common Core is backed by, among others, the current governors of New Jersey, Iowa, Arizona, Georgia, Oklahoma, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Idaho (all Republicans), as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable.
Passion about our children's futures is valuable, but distributing misinformation about Common Core standards does not help parents, teachers, and voters come to an informed opinion on how best to teach our kids.
Last Updated on Thursday, 26 September 2013 08:54
To The Daily Sun,
I feel the best analogy was made by Jon Stewart last night in regards to the Harvard grad Mr. Cruz and his slightly confusing speech. Cruz's point is up for your impression and interpretation. Cruz was reading from the Dr. Seuss book "Green Eggs and Ham" while trying to fill out his time and gather support to suppress and defund Obamacare. Cruz says "I don't like Green Eggs and Ham". The problem is that the main theme of this children's book is about someone who hates something before he tries it but after tasting it discovers that is isn't to bad after all and actually likes it. Sounds to me like he is promoting the ACA. But then again he would never talk to me as I didn't go to any school whose students would fall into his category of acceptance. I think it was only Harvard, Princeton and Yale grads he talked to.
I will admit there is a lot of confusion on this health care law and as usual it is who you believe. The GOP'ers are throwing a lot of cash at negative ads and my opinion is they will really cash in if it fails. However if it works as advertised then we, the American people, will win big time. So, who has the most to gain with this bill? The GOP has NEVER offered any ideas for health care but only tell us how bad it is. So, what do they have to gain? Somehow I doubt the GOP is trying to protect us. If they were then they wouldn't be cutting or trying to cut help for the disadvantaged like food stamps etc. They only help those who don't need it, like tax breaks for the top 1 percent, Not raising the minimum wage, farm bill benefits for numerous member of Congress who don't need them and so on. Who you gonna believe?
Last Updated on Thursday, 26 September 2013 08:47
To The Daily Sun,
Professor Cracraft, in his Sept. 26, letter to The Laconia Daily Sun, gave us another example of liberal bias in academia. While many professor's argue that their writings do not influence their students, one would think that if the students can read, then his and other professor's biased writings may influence them.
In his letter, the professor states his position about the military draft. He and I are in total agreement about that. However, his liberal bias comes through when, to make his case for a draft, he makes derogatory claims about former President George W. Bush's and former Vice President Dan Quayle service during the Viet Nam war, but he says nary a word about Messrs. Biden, Clinton, and Gore, or any other liberal politician.
We have often heard about the five deferments of former Vice President Dick Cheney, but Cracraft, and others, are loath to mention that hale and hearty Vice President Joe Biden received the same number of deferments, and was not in the service. While the professor demeans Quayle for signing up for the National Guard, and he states that the draft " . . . favored the sons of the rich and influential", he neglects to cite a few facts about former Vice President Gore, whose father was an influential and outspoken Senator from Tennessee who opposed the war. Al Gore enlisted in the army after he graduated from Harvard. Normally, an enlistment is for a three year tour of duty, but he was allowed a two-year tour, actually serving for a total of one year and nine months. During that time, the former vice president also saw five months of service in Viet Nam as an "Information Specialist", but saw no combat. Perhaps Al Gore did, in fact, benefit from being the son of a rich and influential Senator. (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2525562/posts).
Cracraft also fails to mention the draft deferments of former President Clinton, or the "draft letter" that he sent to Colonel Holmes. In that letter, Clinton said, "I came to believe that the draft system itself is illegitimate. No government really rooted in limited, parliamentary democracy should have the power to make its citizens fight and kill and die in a war they may oppose, . . .". Here is the link to Clinton's full letter: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/clinton/etc/draftletter.html.
Professor Cracraft is free to write as he pleases. I do think however, that those who teach our children have an obligation to give more than half the story.
Last Updated on Thursday, 26 September 2013 08:42
To The Daily Sun,
On September 13 my husband and I had the privilege of attending 161st Police Academy's graduation in Concord at the Training Academy.
One of the honors at every graduating class is bestowed upon a class member who has served in the military before attending and graduating from the Academy. This candidate must show outstanding character and leadership during their training at the Academy and is chosen for a special award; the Charron-Legion Award.
Jeremy Charron was a Marine who went on to become an Epsom police officer. He was killed in the line duty while serving his community. He was a hero, as are all of our men and women who serve and protect.
This graduation was special to me. As Concord's American Legion Post 122 presented the Charron-Legion award, alongside the parents of Jeremy Charron, it was my privilege to take the photos of the recipient, Nashua Police Officer Julia Banks. Officer Banks is a Marine veteran who served her country with honor and now continues to serve our state. It was a proud moment for me to see the first female officer receive this award.
I want to say thank you to all of our veterans, no matter what age, no matter where they served, whether man or woman. We have the bravest military in the world! Thank you Officer Banks and to the entire 161st graduating class of the New Hampshire Police Academy. You make us proud every day. Stay safe and God speed.
Gilmanton Iron Works
Last Updated on Thursday, 26 September 2013 08:39
To The Daily Sun,
I read the article in Wednesday's edition of The Laconia Daily Sun about the poor kid who had his fundraiser jar stolen from his parent's business. Let me just say that I'm sad and mad about that. I'm so tired of hearing about things like this. It seems to me there's getting to be more and more people who just think they can take anything that's not nailed down,do anything they want, and think the law doesn't apply to them!
I'm upset about what Laconia has become. A city full of drug addicts and people too lazy to work — they'd rather steal or sell drugs for income. I may struggle, but I earn every single dime of it! I've always had to work hard and struggle for what I have since I moved out on my own. However, I've never, and never will resort to selling drugs or stealing to make ends meet. I'd rather be homeless, or sell my things, if it came down to it, before I'll take something that doesn't belong to me, that someone else worked hard to get, or intended to be for a good cause for that matter. I've had things stolen from me, so I know how this kid feels. I worked hard for all those things stolen from me, just for someone who didn't earn them to take them and enjoy them.
This kid put a lot of kindness and thought into what he did. I understand the economy is pretty bad still, but it's no free pass to steal. Seems to me like every time someone tries to do something nice or positive for their community for a change, someone has to ruin it. Pretty low to steal from a kid and/or a good cause. Just nothing is safe anymore. Did I really expect anything better from Laconia? I guess I know now that this city is going further and further down the tubes. You can't trust anybody anymore. Seems to me good people are hard to come by nowadays, most people just care about what's good for them, or they're just plain lowlifes who think it's okay to take what isn't theirs. Those animals that money was going to are better and more civilized than the people who took it!
Last Updated on Thursday, 26 September 2013 08:36