N.H. needs its own academic standards

To the editor:

The 10th Amendment of the Constitution states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The federal Department of Education is currently working on drafting “common” academic standards. One might wonder why the federal Department of Education feels the need to set academic standards when each state currently sets academic standards.

It is true that all states set academic standards, however many failed miserably at this task. New Hampshire is one of those states. New Hampshire’s math and science standards ranked at an “F” per the Fordham Institute.

One might believe that looking to the federal government is a quick and easily solution to this problem, however, it leaves out a few important facts:

• By handing this responsibility over to the federal government we lose local control and further diminish our constitutional rights per the 10th Amendment.

• We ignore the failed efforts of the New Hampshire Department of Education. Why can’t they set standards at a level of excellence? California, Massachusetts and Indiana succeeded in setting excellent math standards.

• What happens if the federal government fails to set excellent academic standards? Since so many states have failed, what makes us think the federal government can do any better?

Right now there are some in the education community criticizing the leaked “voluntary national standards” by the Core Knowledge blog. It states, “A draft of the newly developed common core state standards purports to offer ‘sufficient guidance and clarity so that they are teachable, learnable and measurable,’ however, the ELA guidelines offer almost no specific content and little that would be of use to teachers in planning lessons — or parents in understanding what their child is expected to know.”

Parents and taxpayers in New Hampshire deserve a quality education for their children. The New Hampshire Department of Education under Governor Lynch has failed miserably. Instead of revising the academic standards like California, Indiana and Massachusetts, they shifted their responsibility to the federal government, further eroding local control.

Parents and taxpayers need to be aware of this failure from the Lynch Department of Education. Hopefully with this knowledge parents will contact the governor’s office and demand quality standards on a state level, where they belong.

I encourage parents/taxpayers to visit two grassroots Web sites committed to excellence in math standards: www.nhworldclassmath.webs.com and www.mathwizards.wordpress.com.

Ann Marie Banfield

Categories: Cook on Concord