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LETTER: Contact legislators about Common Core

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To the Editor:

Question the reason.

Comparison to other countries is the first reason given for Common Core State Standards in Heidi Marttila-Losure’s article, “Common Core knowledge uncommon.”

PISA, a well-known international test, shows the U.S. ranks 14th in reading and 25th in math. However, a Stanford study published by the Economic Policy Institute shows that when calculations account for disadvantaged students, U.S. students score sixth in reading and 13th in math. Furthermore, the study showed that the gap between more and less disadvantaged students is smaller in the U.S. than in similar, post-industrial countries.

Our schools are doing a great job. Consider that when we compare South Dakota’s average scores to the average U.S. scores, South Dakota students score higher. Likewise, Mitchell scores high in comparison to the South Dakota average.

Tests are only one measure of success. There is no correlation between test scores and a free and peaceful society or a stable economy. Communist China scores highly internationally, but does not share test results from all its students. While we learn from other countries, we must also consider where they’re coming from.

Arm yourself with information. For South Dakota accreditation, schools must test students in grades 3 through 8 and 11 on Common Core standards this spring – Smarter Balanced Test. Results will be linked to a longitudinal database SD-STARS. Security of the database and who will have access to it is another factor to consider.

This is a legislative issue. If you have concerns about Common Core Standards and associated curriculum and testing, contact state legislators and people/groups who lobby the Legislature on education issues.

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