AUGUSTA – Maine teachers are growing frustrated with the Common Core State Standards, a controversial educational reform that has quietly wound its way into nearly every American school in the past few years.
“Teachers from around the country (including many here in Maine) have expressed concerns about the way the Common Core standards are being implemented and assessed,” wrote Maine Education Association (MEA) lobbyist John Kosinski in a Feb. 19 email to Democratic leaders.
“Frustration is quickly growing among teachers,” Kosinski wrote.
The email, which was sent to Senate President Justin Alfond (D-Portland), House Speaker Mark Eves (D-North Berwick), Sen. Rebecca Millett (D-Cape Elizabeth) and Rep. Bruce MacDonald (D-Booth Bay), was obtained by The Maine Wire through a public records request.
Kosinski did not respond to requests for comment about Common Core and the MEA, but the email says the National Education Association (NEA) is “calling for a review of the standards and their implementation.”
“You can expect the NEA will be calling for greater collaboration with teachers on retooling the standards,” he wrote.
Maine replaced the Maine Learning Results with the Common Core in January of 2011, becoming the 42nd state to have adopted them.
The standards were developed through a partnership between the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Although backers of the project have advertised it as a state-led process, critics say the Common Core is a federally imposed education mandate that erodes local control. Some, such as education reformer Dr. Sandra Stotsky, have also criticized the standards as not being rigorous or internationally bench-marked.
Regardless of whether the Common Core represents an improvement over Maine’s older learning standards, teachers are understandably alarmed about sweeping changes in the way they run their classrooms and interact with students. But up until now, the powerful teachers union has remained largely silent on the issue.
Editor, The Maine Wire