Opinion
Standards Letter to the Editor

Reader Decries ‘Scapegoating’ in Common-Core Commentary

December 03, 2013 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

I was sadly disappointed by Thomas Toch’s recent Commentary, “Common Core’s Power for Disadvantaged Students” (Oct. 23, 2013).

Mr. Toch simply trotted out common-core advocates’ litany of criticisms of public school teachers. He decries “the simplistic sharing of feelings” when writing is taught. He claims that “educators define their expectations in terms of students’ race and class.” He concludes that we are wrong in placing trust in teachers to have high standards. He thinks this trust is a “ticket back to second-class educational status for many students.”

So what is Mr. Toch’s theory of action—other than shouting “higher standards”? Instead of demeaning teachers, he might review the research about the proven power in actually removing poverty’s well-known barriers to learning. Those barriers occur mostly outside the classroom. (See reports of best practices from the Learning First Alliance and the Broader Bolder Approach.)

In the same issue, Brian Cleary put it best in his Commentary, “Changing the World, One Student at a Time": “I don’t really understand the psychology that makes teachers and parents the scapegoats for so many problems.”

Scapegoating leads us nowhere. Neither does shouting simplistic clichés like “raise the bar.”

Tom Olson

Canby, Ore.

The author is a retired educator and a co-founder of the education advocacy group Oregon Save Our Schools. An unedited version of this letter first appeared as on online comment on edweek.org.

A version of this article appeared in the December 04, 2013 edition of Education Week as Reader Decries ‘Scapegoating’ in Common-Core Commentary

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Whole Child Approach to Supporting Positive Student Behavior 
To improve student behavior, it’s important to look at the root causes. Social-emotional learning may play a preventative role.

A whole child approach can proactively support positive student behaviors.

Join this webinar to learn how.
Content provided by Panorama
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Why Retaining Education Leaders of Color Is Key for Student Success
Today, in the United States roughly 53 percent of our public school students are young people of color, while approximately 80 percent of the educators who lead their classrooms, schools, and districts are white. Racial
Jobs January 2022 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Standards Opinion How the Failure of the Common Core Looked From the Ground
Steve Peha shares insights from his on-site professional-development work about why the common core failed, in a guest letter to Rick Hess.
4 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Standards Opinion Common Core Is a Meal Kit, Not a Nothingburger
Caroline Damon argues Rick Hess and Tom Loveless sold the common core short, claiming the issue was a matter of high-quality implementation.
5 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Standards How New Common Core Research Connects to Biden's Plans for Children and Families
A study of national test scores indicate the early phase of the Common Core State Standards did not help disadvantaged students.
5 min read
results 925693186 02
iStock/Getty
Standards Opinion After All That Commotion, Was the Common Core a Big Nothingburger?
The Common Core State Standards may not have had an impact on student outcomes, but they did make school improvement tougher and more ideological.
3 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty