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Defending a defense of Common Core [Letter]

Thank you for an intelligent explanation of the theories behind the Common Core standards ("In defense of Common Core," June 27). You detailed the purpose behind the English and math standards with examples that should make sense to most people. Rather than move students through grades with a minimum understanding of critical thinking and the need for one correct answer, we need students who can read for meaning with evidence and understand the many ways to get the "correct math answer."

You could have buttressed the argument better by noting that the 50 states and thousands of school districts have different standards in language and math, which handicap students who move within a state or beyond its borders, especially those from military families. As Bill Gates had said, "there should be no difference between what Massachusetts requires versus what Alabama has for math standards." Further, the National Governors Association realized there was great disparity among the states when they first addressed the problem in 2008. They commissioned a number of prominent governors and industry leaders to prepare a bench-marking study of major industrial countries' educational systems to see which was best and where the U.S. lags. The NGA study provided the roadmap for major improvements, starting with common standards, making states more accountable, improving teachers, aligning curriculum with those standards and measuring progress against the standards.

The political leaders (both Democratic and Republican), industry and academia agreed this was necessary to move the farm and factory type of education into the 21st century, to enable the U.S. to better compete in a global economy. You have met the first purpose of the press — to educate and inform the public about major issues affecting their lives and their future.

Ronald E. Putz, Columbia

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Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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