Tonawanda News


April 20, 2014

DUVALL: In defense of the Common Core

Tonawanda News — They’ve become the two dirtiest words in education, but the Common Core is very much worth defending.

There exists much misinformation about what the Common Core actually is and what it does. To start defending it, first you must understand it.

So what actually is the Common Core? It’s an effort supported by wide swaths of the business and political establishment. It creates a set of benchmarks for students in all grades, a baseline for what skills children should have at the end of each school year.

It was an important step because it replaced — in 44 states, anyway — a state-by-state system of evaluation that left many children unprepared for college or the professional workplace. Students in New York, which had some of the toughest school standards in the nation thanks to the implementation of mandatory Regents diplomas for high school graduates, were better off than most.

But consider a child from, say, Alabama, where school standards were much more lax. Though a graduate there might have the same GPA as a student in New York, it’s highly likely the New York student was farther along the learning spectrum. What is a C or a B here is an A somewhere else.

That’s no way to educate children in an advanced society.

One common criticism of the Common Core comes from Republicans who say it amounts to a federal takeover of schools. This could not be farther from the truth.

While Common Core does set a uniform benchmark it does not tell states or individual school districts what to teach children or how to teach it. Your child’s curriculum is ultimately the responsibility of your local school district and your child’s teacher and Common Core does nothing to change this. 

Furthermore, with no national standard how can we judge ourselves and the skills we teach our children against the rest of the world?

Text Only
  • ADAMCZYK: The greatest luxury: peace, quiet It is not difficult, for anyone with the intent, to know more about you than you think they should. Every step of yours involving interactive technology can be molded into a picture of how you spend your time, money and thought.

    August 1, 2014

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On lines blurred, crossed and nonexistent It strikes me more and more how blurry the lines have gotten in all facets of our world, large and small.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tucker, Barbara.jpg TUCKER: Oh, the joys of Sound Off Never thought the words "Thank goodness for Sound Off" would ever be printed here.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • adamczyk, ed.jpg ADAMCZYK: And now for something completely different... Last weekend I attended a local movie theater (a plushy, posh experience; they design these places now to get you out of your living room and away from your home electronics) to watch the sun set on the British Empire.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • OUR VIEW: Arson suspect never deserved bail Two of the 11 fires reported on Fifth Avenue could have been prevented with some jurisprudence in evaluating whether the suspect, Michelle Johnston, deserved to be offered bail. Given the obvious nature of a repeat offender who was charged with nine felony arson counts, bail never should have been offered in this case.

    July 25, 2014

  • wallace, amy.jpg WALLACE: Too much information? Is there such a thing as TMI or too much information anymore? Some might say yes.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On reading and the lack thereof It was surprising to me a few weeks ago when a friend asked a group of us to estimate how many books we have each read over the last five years. The English teacher said 200 and he far and away led the pack. I was probably the median and my number was 20-25.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: A Con-Con would be a con game

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: Conflict in Ukraine now a concern of global proportions It seems increasingly clear Ukrainian separatists, with the help from the Russian military, are responsible for the tragedy. They, of course, have denied it. They've also denied access to the crash site to international investigators seeking to recover the dead and determine what happened. That's not something the innocent party does.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADAMCZYK: Personal development, rendered in steel Accepting the premise that everyone needs to fill the same amount of time every day (24 hours, every day), some people use theirs rebuilding things, tangible things, and thus fulfill a few intangible goals.

    July 18, 2014