Letters to the Editor

Common Core facts

Sandy Torosian (commentary March 26) in her appeal to boycott the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is misleading in her statements.

First, CCSS are not new and untried. They were based on the previous standards of Massachusetts, Minnesota and California — standards we have been teaching in California for the past 18 years.

Second, the federal government cannot establish curriculum. Common Core standards are not curriculum. They do not prescribe specific topics or textbooks or methods of teaching; they are expectations of performance. For example, “Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant.” Applicants for Race to the Top funds were not required to adopt CCSS. Judging from the 22 states willing to turn down federal Medicare expansion money, it would seem states easily could have rejected being “forced” to accept CCSS.

The FERPA has a list of waivers for access to student records, including to “organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school.” Such data, along with test scores Ms. Torosian would have us boycott, are the path to determining whether the Common Core is a fly-by-night educational experiment or not.

Jonica Bushman

Fresno

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