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Don’t attack teachers for questioning standards

In attempting to scapegoat the New York State United Teachers for obstructing implementation of the Common Core national standards, School Board member James M. Sampson is throwing a dart that misses the bull’s-eye by a mile. (“Education commissioner has it right on Common Core standards,” Oct. 29 Another Voice.)

Teacher evaluation is an angle any teachers union might be expected to challenge, but the problems with Common Core go much deeper than that. Eminent scholars, including some who served on the Common Core Validation Committee, have criticized these one-size-fits-all standards as mediocre at best. Parents and local taxpayers are upset that they had no voice when the Common Core was being drafted behind closed doors by billionaire-bankrolled interest groups. They foresee the loss of local control, and they are right.

But consider just teacher evaluation, since Sampson targeted it. Because Common Core will be light on knowledge and heavy on “critical thinking,” assessment will be essentially experimental and subjective. Like Obamacare, this scheme has not been vetted. Therefore, it is no wonder that teachers don’t want their jobs at the mercy of such an untested system. Nor do parents fancy their children being guinea pigs.

Robert Holland

Senior Fellow for Education Policy

The Heartland Institute