To the Editor:
In his Commentary “Standards and the Art of Magical Thinking” (June 9, 2010), Thomas Newkirk describes the writing standards put forth by the Common Core State Standards Initiative as “utopian fictions, illusory, magical thinking,” which really nails the core-folks on the head. Why politicians and educational bureaucrats support such standards is obvious. It’s more troubling to learn that teachers’ organizations have gotten on board—no doubt also for political reasons, and certainly not for the sake of decreasing the student dropout rate.
Since most states are leaping onto the recklessly moving train (see “Allies Shift Focus Toward Promoting Standards Adoption” in the same issue), the only hope left to us, it seems, is that the mass failure that Mr. Newkirk predicts will follow upon adoption of the core standards will “morph into more modest ‘real’ standards,” as he says, before thousands of students are seriously damaged.
Edgar H. Schuster
Melrose Park, Pa.
A version of this article appeared in the July 14, 2010 edition of Education Week as Common-Core Standards As ‘Magical Thinking’