Commom Core better for kids


March 25, 2016 - 12:00 AM

How many legs does a Hottentot have, was a question on an assessment test I took in high school. Multiple choice, I had my pick of two, four, six or eight.

Sometime before I’d read a book about Trader Horn — Alfred Aloysius Smith, who changed Smith to Horn for commercial reasons, he being an ivory trader in Africa. It was probably in the book I learned Hottentot was the name of an African tribe, with members obviously having two legs. 

I don’t remember how I fared overall on the test, but I never took one without giving my all; my competitive nature showing through, and also knowing results were important. “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right,” Dad, a child of the Depression, often said.

I have never understood why anyone would not take such things seriously. Tests have a purpose, to define students’ shortcomings.

Which takes us to Common Core, the education strategy that was a product of the states — not the federal government, regardless of rails by Trump and Cruz and goodness knows how many other frenzied Republicans. 

Common Core’s premise is students are better served by having a predictable curriculum in math and reading that involves critical thinking. It shies from learning by rote.

Testing is a Common Core component, to identify strengths and weaknesses so educators may come to the rescue of kids who need help. Just like my assessment test of eons ago.

This week members of the Kansas House were forward thinking enough to derail an effort by the Senate to remove Common Core from Kansas schools.

The next shoe that needs to fall is funding schools in more adequate fashion, not redistributing dollars already in the system.

It’s popular in some circles for detractors to say schools have more than enough money, but it simply is not true. Block grant funding has left districts clawing for revenue while it disguises what flows from Topeka by including property tax buffers and support for KPERS in the financial mix.

If that were not true, why would districts frantically be squeezing every penny in efforts to keep schools open for full terms and avoid having to terminate teachers.

What it boils down to is that nothing our state does is more important than providing a first-class education for our children.


When older generations hand off the many batons that make up daily life, don’t we want the upcoming generation to be well prepared?