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Letters: Common Core, profit and burnout

A file photo of school buses.

A file photo of school buses. Photo Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

I have a feeling that the process used for Obamacare was also used on the Common Core ["Speakers: NY 'set children up to fail'," News, Nov. 27]. Both have the right goals: raising health care and educational standards for everyone.

Unfortunately, apparently only the business sides of both were used to craft the details. So the people who sell healthcare and education products are making loads of money with their PowerPoint displays and binders full of templates that don't translate to the real world.

At the same time, the people who actually provide health care and actually teach are having the life beat out of them as they try to keep these woefully inadequate and misguided programs from harming those they try to help.

We have got to stop creating programs from within the corporate think tanks without first going to people responsible for implementing those programs.

The shame is that both the Common Core and the health care rollouts play into the hands of those who believe that government shouldn't be in the business of helping everyone achieve the best health and welfare.

Abby G. Burton, Plainview

Editor's note: The writer is a school teacher.

It is time to place the proverbial finger in the Common Core curriculum dike to end the rush of emotion and negativity flowing from its implementation. Is there a way we can reduce the stress levels for all, minimize the ongoing and, in some cases, unproductive rhetoric while maintaining the value and rigor for students? The answer is yes! It is time to stop giving homework.

Much of today's homework is Common Core related. This appears to make sense since the standards are new. But what doesn't make sense is lots of new and challenging homework at the expense of the emotional health of students and the well-being of the family. After spending a full school day immersed in intense Common Core instruction, students will gain little, if anything, by extending their school day with more of the same.

For homework to have any value, it must be reviewed the next day. This leaves little time for new instruction.

A synthesis of homework research provides little conclusive evidence that homework improves or enhances student achievement. Finland, which is touted for high student achievement, hardly gives any homework. French President Francois Hollande announced in October 2012 his plans to get rid of homework as part of his education reforms.

School administrators, teachers and parents should harness their collective energies for a "no homework" policy.

Philip S. Cicero, Massapequa

Editor's note: The writer is a retired school superintendent.

Supporters of the Common Core seem to believe that teachers and administrators don't want the accountability connected to testing. They foolishly think that this opposition is just a roll-out problem, people will get used to it, and we will be better off. They refuse to recognize the revolution occurring right in front of them.

Teachers put their students first. The overwhelming majority were graded effective or above even with a faulty, inappropriate and invalid test. So the premise that teachers have a self-serving motive is nullified. Teachers oppose these tests because they are not developmentally aligned to the students on their grade level.

Administrators understand that tying test scores to teacher evaluations creates an atmosphere that poisons schools. When your job depends on a score based on an invalid test, and students who have given up because it is just above their ability, you cannot get an accurate depiction of a teacher's proficiency.

As a veteran, retired teacher, I cannot recall a time when teachers, administrators, superintendents and parents have been so aligned. That has to mean something. Yes, there is a revolution occurring, and the next step is to keep our children home on testing days.

Philip Tamberino, South Huntington