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Better early education makes more sense than Common Core

Wednesday, December 4, 2013
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Better early education makes more sense than Common Core

If you look at the objectives of the Common Core, there is really nothing that can be disputed. We need our students to be college- and career-ready when they leave high school. However, as with everything else, the details on how to accomplish these goals become muddy.

It is much easier for politicians to blame the failings of our schools on the teachers and principals, rather than offer any real educational changes based on research. Test scores do not reflect learning and do not accurately reflect a student’s aptitude for successful collegiate completion. I don’t blame the public for believing this fairy tale. It is easier to place the quick blame rather than ask hard questions that some folks might not like the answers to.

Research suggests that more money and more testing is not the answer. We need to better allocate the existing funds to help close the learning gap that young students come into the system with. Studies have shown that language is formed well before they reach school. A child from an affluent family will come into school with a 5,000-word vocabulary, while the child from a poor family will only exhibit a 2,000-word vocabulary.

The gap then continues to widen all through their school years. Money should be used for preparatory programs designed to lessen the learning gap, not testing fads. When an urban school district is forced to drop pre-kindergarten, you can almost bet with certainty that their scores will drop for the next 10 years. A glaring reality is that the parents (and young parents in particular) lack the understanding of this vital process and may not have the supports and resources necessary to assist their children.

I am becoming more discouraged each year, and it has little to do with the kids. In my 15 years, I have been through at least 3 different “reforms” and I’m sure I will see a few more in my next 15 years. The main problem is that people who haven’t been in a classroom since they were in high school themselves are making the decisions that will drive where education goes. This is fundamentally detrimental at its core and does not have any research in its backing.

I am glad that there are parents who are finally speaking out against these “reforms” in hopes of influencing the powers-that-be to listen to the researchers and come up with a feasible plan.

Eric Lewis

Niskayuna

Enough, already, about fatal Northway crash

Re the [Dec. 1] front-page story [“One year later, those affected by fatal Northway crash work to move on”] once again focusing on the tragic accident claiming the lives of two young people: How can these people heal their grief when so much media attention keeps bringing it up?

Enough is enough is enough.

Hans Walter

Scotia

Demolitions present opportunity for Sch’dy

One man’s trash, another man’s treasure; life gives you lemons, make lemonade; etc.

I see treasure in Schenectady’s 90-some-odd vacant structures. The government has money available for knocking them down. Schenectady has thousands of people out of work. Re-purposing materials is great for the environment.

The only problem Schenectady has is finding the one person with vision who can make this “problem” an “opportunity.”

Mac Bryant

Saratoga Springs

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comments

December 4, 2013
10:10 a.m.
JIMOCONNOR says...

Mr. Lewis 15 years is just long enough for 'reforms' to start being recycled with new names....Enjoy

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