Here is an excerpt from Nashua Superintendent Mark Conrad’s piece on the Common Core in today’s Nashua Telegraph. Notice that it is grounded and factual, like the new standards themselves. Read the whole thing. Contrast it with what you see from the opponents, as in this piece, also today in the Telegraph.
The Common Core state standards came about because of concern from educators and employers that we must address the need for our high school graduates to possess the skill sets necessary for success in college and careers. As a result, the new standards specify more rigorous knowledge and skills that students now need in reading, writing, speaking and listening (the English Language Arts Standards), and for solving problems in math (the Mathematics Standards). Students will now be expected to:
• read and understand more challenging non-fiction texts and articles across content areas (such as social studies, math and science.)
• use evidence gathered from one text (or multiple texts) to support what they write and say.
• understand academic language and vocabulary.
• apply math problems in real-world settings with a conceptual understanding in how to solve the problems, and with procedural fluency.
• explain how to solve math problems and represent them in graphs, charts and tables.
• persevere in solving problems.
If we begin by asking what is best for our students and dispel the misunderstandings about the Common Core, I believe the case for supporting them becomes much clearer. Indeed, who can reasonably argue that we don’t want our students to graduate with the skills mentioned above?