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Mom's Letter To Obama Criticizes Common Core Tests

In an open letter to President Obama, an upset mother challenged the president on what she considers to be “confusing” and “developmentally inappropriate" standardized tests. The letter was recently posted on a blog from the Washington Post.

Rebecca Steinitz, whose daughter Eva is in the seventh grade, is a literacy consultant for urban high schools with a Ph.D. in English. She told the president even she had a hard time answering some of the questions on the tests that are intended to assess students’ competency in the controversial Common Core Standards.

Steinitz claimed, Eva, who is the same age as the president’s youngest daughter, Sasha, said the test was “really complicated, hard, and unclear.”

In the letter she cited a difficult essay prompt from a test intended for students in the third grade. 

She then asked the president, “Would Sasha have been able to figure this out in third grade?”

“And, more importantly is there any reason a third grader should have to figure out an essay prompt this broad and abstract?” the letter continued.

Steinitz's concern stems from the fact that the president’s two daughters don’t attend public school and are, therefore, exempt from having to take the tests. While she said in the letter that she supported the president’s decision to send the girls to private school, the decision means the president doesn’t “get a parent’s-eye view of the annual high-stakes tests taken by most of America’s children.”

“Just as you do, President Obama, I want America’s children to learn and succeed,” she wrote. “I believe the Common Core State Standards could help make this happen.”

But Steinitz concluded, “Setting high standards and effectively teaching them is a fine route to success; setting children up to fail because of ineffective tests is not.”

The Common Core is developing into a hot-button issue for coming elections. A recent New York Times piece reported that the educational standards were adopted by 44 states with the support of numerous Republican governors. 

Now conservatives have begun denouncing the set of standards as “Obamacore,” a reference to the pejorative “Obamacare” often used to describe recent healthcare reform laws. The reason for the switch in position is simply that the president chose to embrace the standards. 

Conservatives now argue that by rewarding states with grants for adopting the standards the president is creating a backdoor to gain federal control over public schools.

“Standards inevitably influence the curricula being taught to meet those standards,” said Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who many believe is contemplating a bid for president in 2016.

The loss of support from Republicans on the Common Core means the president now faces scrutiny on both sides of the issue. How that plays out will be determined in the 2014 midterm elections. The argument will likely spill into the 2016 presidential elections as well.

Check out the full letter, via The Blaze, below:

Open Letter by Becket Adams

Sources: Washington Post, New York Times


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