Re “Common Core learning curve,” Editorial, March 14
As a middle school language arts teacher, I see the new Common Core curriculum as a necessary improvement. It requires students to think deeply about what they have read and to justify their positions based on textual evidence.
The readings are rigorous, and neither students nor parents are used to this. These expectations are now cross-curricular and no longer just the responsibility of English teachers.
Assessments require constructed responses and not so many multiple-choice questions. Students must be able to demonstrate their thinking and reasoning abilities. Frankly, it is a more challenging curriculum, and many students who easily earned A’s will have to work much more diligently.
I constantly tell parents that Common Core is not about more work but more challenging work. I am at a loss to understand why people are so adamantly opposed to these changes. Don’t they think the students are up to this?
Not mentioned in the editorial is the astonishing amount of testing required by Common Core and the requirement that testing be done online.
No Child Left Behind required tests “only” at the end of the year in reading and math in grades three through eight and once in high school. Common Core aims to test all subjects in all grades and includes interim tests throughout the school year.
To take the tests, students must be connected to the Internet with up-to-date computers. After the computers are in place, there will be continual upgrades and replacements. The $1 billion set aside by Gov. Jerry Brown for implementing Common Core in California is only the beginning.
There is no evidence that massive online testing will benefit students.
The writer is a professor emeritus of education at USC.