So much misinformation

To the Editor,

I recently read an article in the Laurel Outlook about a meeting regarding Common Core education standards.  I was appalled by the great deal of misinformation and ignorance on display by those who opposed Common Core.  There are deficiencies inherent in Common Core (a lessened exposure to fiction literature, an adherence to testing standards which can lead to “teaching to the test”), but the improvements over No Child Left Behind are worth pursuing (more clear standards, a greater and more refined focus on mathematics, and a generally improved and guidelined approach).

 It’s one thing to oppose Common Core based on reasoned logic, but to oppose it because it is a federal program (we need standards in order to compete globally, and so universities don’t have to play “catch up” if they enroll students that come from locales with poor standards), or to oppose it because of identity tracking (how else are we supposed to collect data on educational success or failure?) is simply foolish.  Some of the other arguments are too ridiculous to parrot here—and betray a frightening level of paranoia and fear.  

I have four children in the Laurel School District.  They are better off now than when we lived in Juneau, Alaska; the three older children had a very difficult time catching up to our local standards after we left Juneau.  The need to catch up was due to what I can only describe as mild incompetence.  I would hate to see other children have a hard time adjusting to education standards which they will need in order to be employable in a global marketplace.  I don’t want to see that here, especially with my personal interest directly involved.  We need education standards that are applied across the country equally.  If the Laurel School District drops education standards, I would be encouraged to pursue other options—up to and including leaving the city and/or state (my children’s education is that important to me).  

If the meeting to you was discouraging or demoralizing, let this email be a prop and a stay for you and your efforts; and please feel free to share this email with anyone who might glean insight or encouragement from it.  

Jared Nielsen
Laurel