This email is a follow-up to my testimony during the Public Forum at the June 9th School Board Meeting.
While the Administration claims that the MAS were available on the website all along, unfortunately no one was able to actually comment on the District’s page. Comments were disabled so one had to actually send an email to the District if there were any questions. The Standards were updated, so then you had to go back to the beginning and start again. I decided just to wait until the Administration and the Teachers finished and presented their final product to save myself from rehashing items over and over again.
Now that we have the Final Revised Draft, we should be able to start looking at the MAS. The Administration and Teachers have their point of view. I look forward to getting the view of the Parents of this community, who are the Primary Educators of their children, as well as other interested parties. I would hope that the hearings are more like the OCR hearings that are currently taking place. Dialogue serves us better rather than simply the three minutes available at a Public Forum, where you talk to a wall, with no response to any questions you may have.
Much has been said about “21st Century Skills.” Can someone please enumerate exactly what those skills are and compare them to 20th Century Skills?
I have downloaded the PreK Standards Draft 5 ELA & Math that was on the website. I then converted the PDF file to a Word document. I have highlighted problematic areas. I have also added my comments in red italic font. I will attach them in Word format to this email.
We, the citizens, taxpayers, and stakeholders of this community asked that the School Board throw out Common Core. Dr. Livingston proposed using CC as the floor and then coming up with our own, highly rigorous, Manchester Academic Standards. From my review of this current PreK Draft, the Administration has failed. When the earliest Standards are sub-par, how can we believe that the higher levels will reach the level of highly rigorous?
Allow me to summarize my comments:
1. The District MUST proofread these Standards or hire a Copy Editor before publishing. We will be the laughing-stock of the nation if we publish allegedly “rigorous” Standards and yet have grammatical and typographical errors.
2. Standards should be measurable and achievable by the student, WITHOUT prompting, support, or scaffolding. Those terms refer to methods of teaching and thus prove the point that the Standards indeed are curriculum, not merely Standards. If a student needs any of these helps, then he has not mastered the Standard.
3. These Standards omit the basics of phonics and jump into decoding words. Without a firm foundation in phonics, decoding is virtually impossible and you are setting up both students and their teachers for failure. Please rewrite to include the primary sounds of every letter, as well as beginning and ending sounds of common three letter words (C-V-C). In First Grade, once basic sounds have been mastered, children will start to sound out words.
4. Three year old children should be expected to recognize their name. They should also be able to recite the letters spelling out their name. Writing these letters may take more time as their fine motor skills may not yet be developed.
5. Once you eliminate the inappropriate standards, you will have time to teach the children to print ALL the upper and lower case letters, not just the “many” you have in the current version.
6. Conventions of Standard Written English are absolutely inappropriate at this level. Please keep it simple and stop putting so much pressure on these children and their teachers. They will learn the appropriate conventions in later years as they learn to read and write. For now, please read to them. Then read some more. Let them play.
7. K.OA.1 & 2 are the types of standards that are the ridicule of the Internet! Once again, these are teaching methods, not standards. These are the Common Core atrocities that will make us the butt of viral videos. I have no problem with teachers using a variety of strategies to teach addition and subtraction, but the Standard should simple be stated that, “Students will master Addition and Subtraction Facts through 10.” Drawings are methods of teaching. The Goal/Standard should be the appropriate use of number equations, both horizontally and vertically.
8. K.OA.5 asks students to master facts through 5. This is a very low bar. They should be able to master facts through 10. We are looking for high and rigorous standards, not mediocrity.
9. There are missing components to the Math Standards. The ones that I use with my own child and are part of his textbook, are:
Ordinals – First – Tenth
Money – Pennies, Nickels, Dimes
Time – Digital and Analog clocks; tell time to the hour
Vertical Addition/Subtraction as well as Horizontal
I have made other comments on the document itself. I look forward to continued dialogue on the MAS.
Mrs. Patrice Benard