Common Core opponents use any hook they can for their critiques. Recently, Dr. James Milgram, one of two former academics traveling the country to make the case against the Common Core, sent this testimony to the House Education Committee recently.
Here’s my response in the Concord Monitor.
Have you heard that the Common Core math standards don’t prepare our children for STEM careers? Don’t believe it.
Preparing students for careers in science, technology, engineering, and math has been one of Governor Hassan’s highest education priorities. She emphasized the importance of the Common Core in her State of the State address and went on to announce her new STEM task force.
New Hampshire businesses thinks the new math standards get it right too. The Business & Industry Association of New Hampshire (the BIA), the New Hampshire Coalition for Business and Education, New Hampshire’s Advanced Manufacturing Educational Advisory Council and many CEO’s have all endorsed the Common Core.
Thousands of educators and experts participated in developing the Common Core State Standards for math. Hundreds worked on and gave feedback to the various committees involved. Every major mathematical society in America is on record endorsing the standards. The New Hampshire Teachers of Mathematics thinks so as well.
Actually, most every math teacher you talk to thinks provides the preparation our students need – except James Milgram, a retired math prof who travels the country opposing the Common Core.
Dr. Milgram recently submitted testimony to the House Education Committee in support of the several anti-Common Core bills. He tells the committee some ancient history about the math standards in California and stories about who said what to whom as the Common Core standards were being developed. But he does not actually critique the standards.
In fact, Dr. Milgram concludes by saying, ”In spite of the issues raised above, it is true, first that Core Standards are considerably better than the old New Hampshire Math Standards, and second, that much of the material in them is very well done. In fact Core Standards are better than the standards of 90% of the states…”
Then he finishes that sentence by saying that all those political problems make the Common Core standards “entirely unsuitable for state adoption.”
His recommendation is that New Hampshire put together a few good math teachers from “top New Hampshire universities such as Dartmouth” and tweak the Common Core standards.
Actually, New Hampshire math teachers from schools around the State have already done that. Guided by NHDOE, they commented on early drafts and saw their comments used.
And the process continues today. The annual conference of New Hampshire math teachers next month is entirely devoted to the Common Core. Many math teachers share their teaching methods in statewide networks the New Hampshire Department of Education has set up.
Day-to-day, math and science teachers meet in their schools to figure out the best way to use the new standards in their classrooms. And they’ll tell anyone who asks that they appreciate the Common Core standards.
As the Alton School Board was voting to reject the Common Core a few months ago, Richard Kirby, sixth grade English and mathematics teacher at Alton Central School, told the board that the Alton Teachers Association welcomes the Common Core standards, saying ”It offers new challenges to students to become problem solvers, critical thinkers and technologically literate,” he said. “It raises the bar for grade levels and individuals.” (Laconia Sun, 9/17/13)
Carol Marino, 6th Grade Math teacher at Sanborn Middle School, told me, “The Common Core is much more focused. We can spend more time on a topic and really delve into it deeper. And we have continuity across the grades. It just makes so much more sense to me.”
As Dave Juvet, senior vice president of the BIA, said when a sponsor of the anti-Common Core legislation asked if he had read the critics of the Common Core, “My belief is they represent a small, small, small minority of those who worked on the development of the Common Core standards.”