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Wednesday, 09 April 2014 13:57

Kids can endure a little stress

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To the Editor:

Wondering what all the fuss is over the use of Common Core standards in school, I looked up what information I could find.

Frankly, it gets pretty weird. One expert said that requiring kids to meet certain standards at each grade level was demeaning and destroys their creativity. Hmm, I’ve seen some of that creative math at work when a kid at McDonald’s can’t make change.

One must dismiss opinions that teachers come up with because they are, after all, union members and unions exist to protect teachers, not students. 

Large companies point to the need for newly hired young people to take remedial classes in math and just plain old spelling and often must send their new hires off to take remedial classes before they can be put to work. Truly, a sad commentary on our educational system.

The other complaint I’ve heard is that the Common Core standards are federal standards and few want the federal government telling teachers how to teach. Actually, we gave up that privilege a long time ago when school boards accepted the first money from the federal government.  

One other complaint is that students should not be required to know things like the multiplication tables or how to spell. Their theory is that knowing the multiplication tables requires students to learn by rote, or, putting it another way, by memory, and all this is stressful for students. Or, is it stressful for teachers? I would suppose this has something to do with fuzzy math and certainly has much to do with fuzzy thinking.

Is it really destructive to ask a child to memorize something? Next thing, we’ll do away with homework because it interferes with a child’s ability to go on Facebook. How terrible!

True, as Einstein once said, everyone learns differently, and he used the example of trying to teach a fish to climb a tree. Good point, but how has learning to spell changed that?

Don’t we need our kids graduating with enough knowledge to be admitted to a college, and if they don’t go to college, don’t they need to be able to compete within our society?  Does it really matter how someone learns algebra or math as long as they can meet a minimum standard and prepare for real life? Life is sometimes tough.

Sure, in some areas, we have special needs kids, some involving mental disorders, but a lot is the result of broken families, single moms and parents too lazy to make sure their kids are taking their education seriously.  

Ultimately, this leads to a two-tiered society; the educated and the uneducated, with the result that the educated end up ruling over the uneducated.

Common Core forces teachers and students to live up to a standard of education that holds the promise of opportunity for our young people. Do we need unions controlling our educational system? Good grief, surely our kids can survive the stress of memorizing the multiplication tables.

Bob Wilson

 Franklin

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