Letter: Common Core is advantageous for students

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To the editor:

The Wisconsin State Teachers of the Year Network has a classroom perspective on the debate regarding Common Core State Standards. For us, this is neither a political issue nor a union issue. Our view is based on students’ needs.

These higher standards prepare students to be college- and career-ready by demanding students be able to read and understand complex text. They have to understand problems and use skills to innovate solutions.

The Common Core is a nonpartisan, grassroots effort by a wide collection of state educators, state superintendents and governors. We see this as an attempt to strengthen public education, the foundation of our democracy, economy and security.

For several years, we have studied Common Core State Standards. We use them in our classrooms. They hold our students to a higher standard compared to the standards of the past. For the first time in Wisconsin history, students are held accountable to clear and consistent standards from grades kindergarten through 12. We embrace that.

The Common Core State Standards allow students to compete with those overseas. Because past standards cannot be compared with those of our foreign competitors, Wisconsin’s test scores will drop in comparison. This is not a problem we should run away from; this is a problem we should embrace. We will know for the first time how our students rate with those in South Carolina and South Korea.

In a collaborative spirit, with ample opportunity for public comment, the Common Core framework for high academic and realistic standards was developed. In an era of political divisiveness where gridlock is the status quo, collaboration should be applauded. As strong and vocal advocates for public education, we celebrate that more than 45 states and territories have agreed to adopt this system.

In the words of one student, “Those standards make sense. When I moved here from my old town, I spent the first year relearning everything I learned the year before. It was a waste.” Her “old town” was just 15 miles down the road. In a fast-moving, globally competitive world, we cannot afford to waste our children’s time.

Implementation of the Common Core is movement in the right direction. By coming together and having a rigorous and relevant education, we secure our children’s and our state’s future in an ever-changing world.

JoAnn Miller,

Oconto Falls School District,

Wisconsin Teachers of the Year Network