Op-Ed: Don’t let misinformation destroy the promise of Common Core

Regarding Joseph A. Ricciotti’s op-ed (re: “Common Core takes the joy out of teaching,” Oct. 6, 2014), I could not disagree more. Mr. Ricciotti’s assessment ignores the wide support for the Common Core State Standards among teachers and, more troublingly, the reality of public education today.

Ricciotti cites a single survey of teachers in Tennessee to support his contention, but ignores the many national studies that show wide support for clear, high standards to help ensure that all students, regardless of where they live, are ready for the challenges of college and career.

Op-ed submit bugNumerous surveys show support for the Common Core among teachers as well as district leaders. Recent surveys conducted by the American Federation of Teachers, the  National Education Association and the Gates Foundation all found support among teachers for the Common Core hovering around 70 percent or greater.

As American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said, “The Common Core standards are crucial to preparing our children for college, career and life.”

But far more egregious is the fact that Mr. Ricciotti completely fails to recognize how important consistent standards are to the future of education in Connecticut. Far too often, the color of a child’s skin or where a child lives determines the quality of that child’s education.

In cities like Bridgeport, one out of every three students will not graduate from high school. Statewide, our low-income, Black, and Latino students are on average three grade levels behind their peers.

As a parent of two young children and a lifelong public education advocate, that is not a reality I am willing to accept.

While, there are no easy fixes to this problem, there are steps that we can, and must, take now. For one, we must continue to implement consistent high standards like the Common Core across every classroom, every school, and every district in our state. It is a necessary step toward our goal of providing a high-quality education for every Connecticut child.

It won’t be easy, but change never is. And it is the support of teachers, principals and district leaders mentioned above, the support Mr. Ricciotti chose to ignore, that is making implementation of the Common Core State Standards work.

If we give all our kids the tools they need to succeed, we can ensure Connecticut remains a place where people want to live, work, and invest in their future. That’s what the Common Core is about.

Let’s hope misinformation and political rhetoric don’t hold us back from putting in place an initiative with such promise.

Jennifer Alexander is the CEO of ConnCAN (Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now).

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