J. Perkins: One size fits all won't work

Your editorial (Aug. 23) on the Common Core standards ignores two fundamental problems and one process issue. You suggested Maine had adopted the proposal after due thought, but the standards hadn’t been established when Maine’s Legislature voted unanimously and Maine’s current governor signed the bill as a way off the No-Child-Left-Behind hook.

The fallacy of both initiatives is that a one-size-fits-all model would help each child succeed to the best of his or her abilities. We used the Learning Results model for 15 years with failure modes that were predictable. The Common Core is the same system with the same players. It was even the same company rewriting Maine’s standards several years ago.

At Lewiston High School, test results of the lowest 50 students went up slightly and of the highest 50 down slightly. The slight progress is tainted because the weakest can’t meet the arithmetic standards for Maine’s community colleges and universities.

The second problem is in the many details. The Common Core contains a long, sometimes dubious, list of things each student must do and how and when they must be done.

At one level, when you add 431 and 275, should you write the problem vertically with one number above the other? The Common Core wants everyone to wait until fourth grade to do that. At another level, does every student in America have to understand the graph of the cube root of x? It’s on the list.

One size fits all? It won’t work.

Jim Perkins, Wayne

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Comments

CRYSTAL WARD's picture

You are correct

The common core is yet another in a long line of documents to try to make ALL students the SAME !! Learn the same things at the same time or fail . Not one of these kinds of plans have shown to improve student learning by very much if any.
One size fits all has never and will never work for America students.

MARK GRAVE's picture

Perhaps another way to look

Perhaps another way to look at testing is that all students entering college or technical training should have a base level of competency. Not all students will rise to the occasion, which is okay too.

That said, without the unit of measurement called standardized testing, how do we make knowledgeable decisions?

CRYSTAL WARD's picture

Standardized test not always used

Many colleges and universities across the USA have stopped using the SAT's and ACT's and other standardized tests because of their many documented/researched problems --they use the students grades, activities , essay, interviews ,recommendations to select students. I know of no place that only uses or even weighs such test as most important . You could call admission people at colleges and universities for a more complete answer. And some even admit all that apply !! Check out the admission rates at UM and community college system .

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