The following statement by three Louisiana teachers was distributed by Mary K. Bellisario of the Louisiana Coalition for Public Education.
From: Mary K. Bellisario, Coalition for Louisiana Public Education
Re: Real teachers’ concerns with Common Core in the classroom
Attached is an unsolicited letter I received from three Louisiana classroom teachers describing their concerns with the Common Core standards.
They have requested that I share this letter with the media to get out concerns that classroom teachers are having with the Common Core standards.
Unlike organized groups such as “Stand for Children,” they do not have national backing and funding to run ads in newspapers or hire lobbyists. Theirs is the daily experience teachers are having trying to implement standards which didn’t have input from professional educators. (Please note: This can be verified by checking the list of 60 individuals who created the standards as listed on the CCSS website. There was not one K-12 educator or specialist among them. There were, however, several individuals who worked for the same corporations which market the curriculum, testing and evaluations connected with the adoption of the standards.)
The Letter from the 3 Louisiana classroom teachers runs just over 300 words. They selected their own headline.
For verification purposes prior to running their joint letter, the three teachers from the Sulphur, LA, area schools are:
Marla Baldwin, Calcasieu Parish 337-304-0882
Deanna Russell, Beauregard Parish 337-274-3499
Leslie Truax, Calcasieu Parish 337-912-0085
Thank you for sharing their letter in an attempt to provide balanced coverage on this controversial topic.
On behalf of the three teachers listed above,
Mary K. Bellisario
Coalition for Louisiana Public Education
By now we have all heard the claims that Common Core “State” Standards (CCSS) purport to achieve for our children. Advocates of CCSS have been quick to insult the opposition, accusing them of being conspiracy theorists, tea party affiliates, extremists, religious zealots, ineffective and irresponsible teachers, or political game players. But what if no evidence supports any of these accusations?
Teachers and parents have valid concerns with CCSS. We understand the connection of standards with standardized tests and curriculum. As teachers have been implementing these standards over the past two years, numerous concerns have surfaced. Educational leaders respond, “Stay the course,” with no modifications allowed. Their only remedy is more training and resources, neither of which addresses the actual concerns.
The recurring local and national concerns experienced with CCSS are:
· Developmentally inappropriate standards K-2nd grades
· Students unable to master the standards according to the proscribed pacing
· Little time for mastery of basic math facts, with over-emphasis on visual math strategies
· Too light on basic phonics, with over-emphasis on whole language
· Parents alienated from helping children with their homework
· Students exhibiting unnecessary, unhealthy levels of stress and frustration.
As professional educators we request:
· Developmentally-appropriate high standards
· Implementation of researched, tested and proven educational practices
· A balanced approach to instruction (more phonics and basic math facts)
· Math strategies and critical thinking skills to supplement, not replace, instruction
· Flexibility to individualize instruction for individual students, and challenge students within a healthy stress zone
· Acceptance of students’ uniqueness, rather than attempted standardization
· More autonomy in developing lessons
· The use of data to guide, not define, us
Our educational future is too important to blindly accept controversial, experimental education reform. Our children do not deserve to be treated as guinea pigs. If CCSS were as effective as claimed, why are they the center of national debate?
As professional educators, it would be irresponsible to NOT bring our concerns to public attention.
Teachers: Marla Baldwin, Calcasieu Parish
Deanna Russell, Beauregard Parish
Leslie Truax, Calcasieu Parish