What you need to know (and a recent commentary didn’t tell you) about education standards.
It’s not mediocre, and not part of Obamacare
State Rep. Jim Abeler’s sky-is-falling commentary on the Common Core initiative (“Minnesota must reject Common Core mediocrity,” Feb. 15) was a bit sly. Moreover, it seemed as much a diatribe against the Affordable Care Act as it did a comment on national education policy. Abeler — who is running for the U.S. Senate — pejoratively mentioned Obamacare three times, directly and indirectly.
Common Core is not, as Abeler insinuated, a federal program. It is overseen by state governors, education commissioners and their representative organizations, the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. It is true that President Obama supports Common Core and has provided $438 million of economic stimulus funding into developing standardized tests aligned to the standards. Additionally, the federal government strongly encourages states to adopt college and career-readiness standards — standards determined by the states.
Charges that Core standards are “mediocre” and that “ingenuity and thinking outside the box are discarded” are not factual. Common Core puts less emphasis on rote memorization and more on critical, divergent and higher-order thinking. It will ask more from students, not less.
Minnesota has adopted only the reading portion, which uses literature — fiction, poetry, drama — to cultivate analytic and conceptual skills essential to the workplace in the coming century. This won’t be easy, and there will be flaws to be addressed, but I think Common Core is the right direction for Minnesota.
STEVE HENDRICKSON, Minneapolis
SEN. AL FRANKEN
He’s a partisan mostly to opposing partisans
In her counterpoint on Sen. Al Franken’s performance, Republican activist Annette Meeks (“The ‘real’ Al Franken? Try partisan purity,” Feb. 17) dismissed his work out of hand. She basically blamed him for Obamacare and seemed to compliment Sen. Amy Klobuchar for being ranked 62nd out of 100 senators in willingness to to reach across partisan lines.
She gave Franken no credit for some fine work, especially in women’s rights and protection.
If Klobuchar were running in 2014, would Meeks even give a thought to voting for her? Or is she hoping for a Tea Party type along the Ted Cruz lines?
Partisan purity indeed.
GARY DIAMOND, Minneapolis
It thwarts employer’s best judgment
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