We want higher standards that truly educate children

Common concern served as impetus for those who attended State Education Commissioner John King Jr.’s forum on Common Core Dec. 4 at Jamestown High School. Speakers presented heartfelt appeals to King and Regent Robert Bennett: “I hope you are hearing our voices” and “Is this the best we have to offer our children?”

No great awakening occurred in King. Instead, we viewed a well-orchestrated dog-and-pony show pushing the Board of Regents’ agenda. Absent was any degree of animation or enthusiasm from King.

Unbelievably, King feels there is no alternative to Common Core. His own words reveal a man lacking knowledge and out of touch with the public: “Those who argue for lower standards and that we should expect less from students, I think that they are wrong.” Lower standards? Hogwash! Citizens are arguing for higher standards, but ones that truly educate their children, not ones pushing a political agenda.

Here’s a suggestion: Model New York on 1996 rigorous Massachusetts standards. Children truly became educated, and Massachusetts ranked number one in the country. Drop the trite phrase “career and college readiness.” Common Core authors lack any understanding of what makes students college ready. Their interest is in developing future workers for the “21st-century global economy,” another empty phrase. Have they forgotten that America has been a part of the global economy since 1492? This isn’t new stuff to us. The phrase says nothing about the future of our country, but it says volumes about our ignorance of the past.

“I don’t think I’ve witnessed this much interruption in a public forum in my life,” Bennett bitingly told the audience. Hard to believe since people followed the rule by providing silent support, standing and waving their arms in appreciation of a speaker’s remarks. Perhaps Bennett was unaccustomed to having his actions and credibility questioned.

Deann Nelson