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Letters: Raising school quality

Classroom chalkboard.

Classroom chalkboard. Credit: iStock

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal played the Constitution card in the latest assault on the Common Core and Race to the Top grants ["Jindal sues over Common Core," News, Aug. 28]. Jindal claimed that the federal government violated the "state sovereignty clause" in the Constitution. One problem is that there doesn't appear to be such a clause.

There is, however a general welfare clause, which tells us that, "Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States." This has been used historically to justify the federal government's involvement in education.

As early as the Northwest Ordinance in 1787, the federal government has supported and encouraged education because of its vital importance to the republic. A long list of federal acts and court cases has followed.

It should be emphasized that the Common Core standards are a state-led initiative of the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. They are in use by 43 states and the District of Columbia, and, yes, are supported and encouraged by the federal government. As an aside, President George H.W. Bush put forth the notion of national standards and testing as early as 1991, and Congress supported it.

Victor Caliman, South Huntington

Editor's note: The writer is an adjunct professor of education at Adelphi University.

In response to "LI teachers, principals: 97% make the grade" [News, Aug. 29], how many millions of dollars have taxpayers wasted on evaluating public school teachers? As a former school administrator, I could have easily predicted the outcome: Most teachers are effective, some are great, and a very, very few do not belong in the system.

It's the primary responsibility of local school administrators to evaluate their teachers, which in general they do quite well. Better to spend state money on making sure that class sizes are as small as possible, and that teachers and administrators are given current and constant training.

David Setteducati, Smithtown