Letter: Common Core addresses needs

After reading the letter from B.G. Hoffmann in a recent edition of The Advocate, I am compelled to express my disagreement. The Common Core curriculum was vetted by educators and politicians alike to help ensure the United States can remain competitive in the global marketplace and to facilitate a common measure by which we can determine how well our students are prepared to enter a college and/or a career.

My background was in the construction industry, both as a carpenter and in management where I was responsible for hiring and managing craftsmen and trades before becoming an educator in Florida. During my career as an educator serving as a technical college president and school district administrator, I worked closely with business and industry as well as with colleges and universities to gain in-depth knowledge of what a student needs to be successful in both or either of these realms. I have direct knowledge of the needs of business and industry and knowledge of what is needed to prepare students for success in college.

The same skill set is needed to prepare students for college or for a career. Employers want and need an employee who can read, write, compute, reason, have a strong work ethic and get along with other employees. This skill set helps assure success whether one chooses to go to college or to enter the workforce straight out of high school or after a year or two of community or technical college.

Once the premise is accepted that the same skill set is needed regardless of how one enters a career path, there are many education models that replicate successful business models that facilitate and enhance the likelihood of success for our students.

I have personal experience with ACE Mentoring and Ford Next Generation Learning Community. Those models and others have been used to turn around struggling school systems, to enhance school systems that were great systems before these models were in place, to help struggling students become successful and to enhance the education of the high school valedictorian. The cornerstones of those models include involvement of local and regional business and industry and involvement of the postsecondary institutions in the area with the public schools to better prepare students for both college and careers.

The Common Core curriculum is simply a method to ensure our students can be measured and compared with other students to see how well they are doing. The knowledge and skills a student needs to be successful are the same whether a student chooses to attend a four-year university or a one- or two-year college, or to enter the workforce out of high school.

Paul Parker

retired Florida school administrator

Baton Rouge