Dear Anne Michaud

anne michaud

Dear Anne Michaud,

This showed up in my twitter feed earlier this week.  it reminded me of this op-ed you used your platfrom at Newsday to publish.

It immediately reminded me of the this quote from the piece in Newsday.

“I won’t be voting this year to Stop Common Core. I’ve seen my high school-age daughters more engaged by their assignments than ever before. That’s not a course I want to reverse.”

Mother to mother, I am happy your daughters are enjoying school.  Personally, I believe it has more to do with being matched with the right teachers then it does with Common Core.  Have you read the EngageNY 9th grade ELA modules?   There seems to be a lot of focus on days of close reading one short text or short story.  It does not seem very “engaging” to me.    Plus, if I can find the assignments, exactly as they are laid out, then so can teenagers.  Very easy to plan your homework if you are told to read “Romeo and Juliet” but can find the lesson and know that you really only need to read 3 pages.

But, if your daughters are enjoying their high school experience, then I agree that is good.

Many, if not the majority, of children are not finding anything positive about Common Core.  They are frustrated, downcast, discouraged and demoralized.  I have been a part of special education support groups in my area for years.  I meet parents everyday who are living in fear for their children’s health, education and future.  Parents who tell me that their 7th grade child already is questioning “Why bother going to school?  I don’t get it, I will never get through it, it is more then I can do.”  One mother asked “How do I answer my daughter?”   I told her to tell her daughter that there are plenty of parents who know this is wrong and we are fighting for her.

How would you answer that question Ms. Michaud?  Would you say “Well, my daughters are thriving!” and leave it at that.  Do we lose all the students who are just not thriving under Common Core?

You have a platform Ms. Michaud. You write opinions for Newsday. On a good day, I have 100 people read my little blog.  So, I have a challenge for you.  Please call your school district and the school districts that are adjacent to yours.  Start with asking to speak with the Assistant Superintendent of Special Education.  Asking them how the special education students are doing under common core.  Ask how the elementary students are doing in general.  Ask about how many students will not graduate this year because the RCT’s have been eliminated, and some students, no matter how hard they try, will never pass 5 regents exams, even with a 55.   Then, set up a forum and invite parents.  I would be very interested to know how many parents would show up to an open forum to talk about how well their children are doing under Common Core.

In closing, Ms. Michaud, Common Core may work for your children.  it is not working for millions of others.  Shouldn’t we be working towards an education system that enriches all children, and not just a select few?


One thought on “Dear Anne Michaud

  1. Dear ?,

    I don’t really trust people who argue from behind a cloak of anonymity. Perhaps you don’t understand or care that it takes courage to write under one’s own name, precisely because anonymous critics approach to pick apart arguments, without taking the same risk themselves.

    The sentence you cited, that my daughters are doing well in school, is a perfect example. You don’t mention that it came at the end of a long column showing that the amount of NYS-mandated testing is no more than it was pre-Common Core. That was the entire thrust of that column, and yet you want to paint me as someone who only cares how my own daughters are doing.

    I have been arguing for higher education standards for many years, since I began writing a column for at Pittsburgh newspaper in 2003. I didn’t know then how those standards would affect my kids, who were 4 and 6, but I’m pleasantly surprised to see — in the 4th year of Common Core in NYS schools — that they seem to find more meaning in what they’re learning. They’re two years apart and are very different intellectually and in learning style. So, I really can’t attribute their recent engagement to both of them happening to have 7 or 8 better teachers coincidentally at the same time.

    The Regents Competency Test was scheduled to be phased out long before I began writing about education in New York in 2008, and long before NYSED considered adopting the Common Core.

    As I’ve said elsewhere, no, I don’t believe we should be designing an education system for special needs students. I think that if we do that, we can give up all hope of competing in the global economy. However, if Common Core isn’t working for special needs students, advocate to adapt it. That’s what I think is the sensible course.

    I speak to educators all the time. I speak to teachers and administrators in my local district, and in neighboring districts — both in interviews as a journalist and informally because they’re in my circle of friends. A few work in special education. They know what I think, because I put my name on my opinions in a newspaper, and yet we have meaningful and intelligent discussions.

    I’m beginning to think that anonymous commentary is the downfall of conversation in this society. It’s so easy to say hurtful, unfair things without having to stand behind them. And I think the way you characterized my column in which I said my kids are thriving was unfair and taken out of context.


    Anne Michaud

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