George F. Will accused proponents of Common Core of being murky about the nature and purpose of these educational standards [“The rising storm against Common Core,” op-ed, Jan. 16]. As a representative of businesses that rely on well-educated and well-trained individuals, I’m happy to set the record straight about what Common Core does and does not do.
Common Core prepares students to succeed in the 21st-century economy. It focuses on the building blocks of learning, including reading and math. It provides clarity and consistency that puts participating states on an equal footing. And it insists on high standards. Common Core is not a curriculum, a federal program or a federal mandate. It was created at the state level. Curriculum remains within the control of districts, school boards, school leaders and teachers.
Mr. Will and others should direct their outrage at school systems that tolerate low standards and churn out kids ill-prepared for college or a career. Politics and misinformed arguments shouldn’t get in the way of helping our kids, businesses and country succeed.
Thomas J. Donohue, Washington
The writer is the president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
In his critique of the Common Core standards, George F. Will wrote, “Fifty years of increasing Washington input into K-12 education has coincided with disappointing cognitive outputs from schools.” True, but one also could say that 50 years of increasing frustration in educators (and many parents and students) with the United States’ low level of student learning and interest in mathematics has coincided with sustained research on how best to teach math.
Not all parents can send their children to expensive preschools, outstanding public schools or top-notch private schools. Many people have to move from locality to locality to follow or find work and must help their children overcome the differences in local education standards.
Sharon Hoover , Lewes, Del.