Common Core raises many concernsDavid Murotake

Letter to the Editor

I’m a Nashua school board member and state representative. I wanted to express my opinion on Common Core State Standards. Gov. John Lynch adopted the CCSS in 2011. Soon afterward, the state board of education published an implementation framework before CCSS was finalized. Neither the Legislature nor our school board has approved CCSS, which may have a cost impact to Nashua of $3.5 million over the cost of “business as usual.”

While I recognize the need for K-12 education reform in Nashua, I don’t believe CCSS is the right answer. New Hampshire plans to replace the NECAP assessments with the “core-aligned” Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA) in spring 2015, meaning we have to be teaching our children to the new standards this year. (Both NECAP and SBA are “summative assessments” meaning they test comprehensive learning from the year before.) Many Nashua teachers don’t feel there’s enough time to properly “align” their classes so students can be tested properly next year. Both national teachers unions share this opinion and call for a 2-year moratorium. National associations like those representing school boards, superintendents and principals also do. So do I.

Parents have serious privacy concerns with SBA. Testing agencies plan to sell aggregated student (and family) information for profit. With “big data” and “data analytics,” this privacy information may be reconstructed later, violating their rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Standards like CCSS requiring online entry of privacy information for assessments without “opt-out” should not be adopted without school board approval.

David Murotake