This is in response to “Commissioner: Test helps identify, aid districts” (April 19).

Tom Desjardin, Maine’s acting education commissioner, needs to do some homework on assessments. The new standardized tests have hijacked the curriculum and testing in schools. These tests are aligned with Common Core. The tests did not come from teachers and educators. The federal government paid millions to Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia to write standardized assessments and curriculum guides.

According to Emily Talmage, Lewiston teacher, (Sun Journal guest column, March 29) teachers do not see the tests given nor get the results for months. She said that math and literacy experts have said that many test items are far above grade level and developmentally inappropriate.

Here is what went wrong as the federal government took over the testing and curriculum in 2010: Students are not being taught by direct instruction based on their learning styles with a solid foundation in the basic skills.

The new standards require students to learn through discovery and collaboration, leaving many frustrated and turned off. Inability to master the skills through indirect forms of learning has resulted in many students feeling like failures.

Common Core standards don’t recognize that students have learning differences.

There are horror stories across the country about students who loved school and now hate it. Parents watch their children struggle to understand tests and succeed.

Schools need to take back control of the curriculum and let teachers teach.

Diana Holcomb, Norway

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