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Letter: Concerns about Common Core

Published: Monday, May 19, 2014 9:59 p.m. CST

To the Editor:

With great interest I saw that, in a 6-1 decision, the St. Charles School Board passed a resolution cautioning state lawmakers against any further implementation of the Common Core State Standards or tests associated with those standards.

Specifically, the resolution requests that “elected state officials carefully review, question and oppose legislation that provides further appropriations for the development, implementation, field testing or administration of the Common Core Standards and the PARCC [Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers] assessment program.”

The board’s concerns mirror my own that I laid out in a Kane County Chronicle piece (Sept. 26, 2013) about these proposed education standards in math and English – high costs associated with the PARCC assessments (testing aligned with CCSS) and, ultimately, the loss of local community control over education.

Originally proposed as a state-led initiative, the federal government has stepped in with carrots and sticks to get states to fall in line. As a deterrent, I supported House Resolution 476, which condemns coercion by the federal government to either force or lure states into adopting CCSS.

Standards for education are good – federal coercion is not. Encouraging teachers to push students in areas like STEM education is a worthy cause; steering kids into more and more testing at exorbitant cost spells trouble for them and the state.

I have heard from many constituents in the 14th District who are concerned about the Common Core and its effect on their children’s education.

In a recent unscientific poll I conducted via my e-newsletter, I found that 67 percent of constituents supported the board’s decision.

We’re now hearing that starting in 2016 the SAT test will be majorly reformatted to align with Common Core.

So, is the SAT going to change from testing student intelligence to now simply determining whether a student has conformed to an experimental set of standards? How will this affect student preparation for the test?

If these aren’t “national education standards,” as proponents hold, then doesn’t a standardized test, based on those standards, used by colleges across the country for student entrance, carry out that objective in fact, if not in name?

More importantly, with millions spent implementing these standards and PARCC assessments, can Illinois afford to be wrong on the Common Core experiment? 

And if they are, what will it take to turn back?

Randy Hultgren

Representative for Illinois’ 14th

U.S. Congressional District

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