November 08, 2013
When Common Core surfaced, minus its testing, student reading and math test scores plunged and are predicted to do so again this semester ("Maryland students show no significant gains on national tests," Nov. 7).
Further, teachers initially received directions to teach critical thinking across curriculum, without instruction as to how to do so, and they learned that their job evaluations depended on positive outcomes.
Some then asked students, without having read it, to act out Homer's "The Odyssey" and told them that would be on the test.
Such math questions as, "Mike bought a toy soldier that was three inches high. On a scale of 1:5, how tall would the actual soldier be?" tend to confuse, since actual soldiers are not 15 inches high.
That crowds time from teaching students necessary academic and life skills, such as consumer math and learning to spend wisely.
Since many adults worldwide fail to compute on the most basic level, students also require sufficient time to acquire a solid foundation. Additionally, such Common Core instruction as above likely will not prepare students adequately to pass the new complex Common Core testing.
Most important, before the introduction of Common Core, students made documented progress in the basic required reading and math skills. How many students and teachers today will have to be subjected to trial and error methods and for how long before being allowed to return to instruction that sufficiently prepares students for the real world?
Hilda Coyne, Baltimore

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