Letter: Common Core benefits students

From 1997 to August 2012, I provided professional development to teachers of mathematics in various school districts including New Orleans and a number of RSD schools. My objective in this work was to deepen the mathematics knowledge of elementary and middle school teachers and to assist them to “open their teaching” so students would have a greater role in their own learning.

During this time period the state tests that were being used still emphasized computation without regard to understanding, so my job was extremely hard.

When the emphasis changed so that students had to understand why, as it did in Virginia, a state where I worked, teachers then realized they had to change their teaching methods.

Our governor claims he is interested in improving the education of the children in our state. So much so that he has introduced vouchers. If he really cares about our children’s education he would welcome the Common Core. The Common Core will help make us competitive with the rest of the world. Will it be easy? No, but the assessments that children were given early on were not easy but many have achieved and have passed these tests now.

We are in the age of technology where many things parents had to learn, children can now access by way of the internet.

Some of the things children have to learn now are how to access information; how to make decisions about the information they access; and to understand the information they find, among other things. Times have changed. Therefore, education has to change. And if we do not help our schools to change to meet the new needs of citizens then we have failed our children.

Louisiana is at the end of most good lists, education being one of these.

If we want to keep the children of Louisiana at the bottom of the education quality list, then we should do as our governor wants and drop the Common Core. I hope for the sake of our children that good sense will prevail and politics will not play a role in this decision.

Merle T. Harris

retired educator

New Orleans