This is in response to the Dec. 13 article “Reading scores decrease in Ohio overhaul.”
New state rules now require reading intervention to occur in kindergarten through third grade. Following this intervention, all third-graders will be tested in reading. Pupils who do not pass the reading test will be retained. Students learn to read in kindergarten through third grade. After third grade, they read to learn.
These new rules are related to the new Common Core standards. The standards are in place after four years of planning under the study of 46 governors. The new standards are rigorous. They represent what all students should know and be able to do in the 21st century.
The debate about standards has gone on for more than two decades. In the past, there were no initiatives behind standards.
Educators were on their own to try to reach standards. Student achievement continued to drop. The new Common Core standards have many resources behind them to help educators.
The standards push for pupils to solve problems beyond rote learning. Language Arts standards for each grade have six categories: reading for literature; reading for informational texts; reading for foundation skills; writing; speaking and listening; and language.
Under each of the categories are several standards. For third-graders, one standard requires students to explain the point of view of the narrator or the characters.
Realizing the potential of these new Common Core standards is a challenge, but the huge benefits our students will gain is worth the effort. Among 65 countries, U.S. schools, which serve the world’s leading economy, rank 31st in math, 24th in science and 21st in reading. What’s more, 41 percent of freshman students enrolling in Ohio public colleges and universities need remedial course work.
In my nearly 37 years with the Akron Public Schools as teacher, counselor, psychologist, principal and director of special education, the new Common Core standards are the best I have seen.
There are variables that could hold up achievement, such as lack of parent involvement and insufficient resources. But I am optimistic. Poverty is not destiny.
Editor’s note: The writer is now an education consultant.
Question for Kerry
How do you spell “hypocrite”? On April 23, 1971, John Kerry, as a member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, spoke before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs. As a veteran, having served in Vietnam, I want to highlight one question Kerry asked the politicians: “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”
As the U.S. Secretary of State, Kerry is pushing for an agreement that would keep American military men and women in harm’s way for another 10 years.
The time has come to end our involvement in Afghanistan and bring all remaining troops home in 2014, as promised by the Obama administration. Now that he sits on the other side of the room, I would ask Kerry, “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?” As a combat veteran and now a politician, the answer should be clear.