The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

June 18, 2013

Education


— Children in the United States have not been held to as high of a standard in terms of education over the past few decades.

They’ve not been challenged at the same rate nor held to as high a bar in our education systems.

And they’re falling behind.

Statistics once showed American children near the head of the class.

As one might expect, the wealthiest countries typically have the best educated children because they aggressively invest in education.

But now the U.S. must look to countries such as Finland, Australia, South Korea, Norway, New Zealand, Japan, Israel and the United Kingdom as leaders in education.

Because it isn’t always about throwing money at it. They’re valuing education in much different ways than before.

The U.S. must think beyond merely funding education, building schools, buying equipment and increasing salaries.

Now, the standards must be raised.

Expectations must be set much higher.

Goals need to be implemented, ones that challenge our students and teachers to become even better, because America could suffer greatly with a poorly educated population and ill-equipped future workforce.

Our children need to walk away better educated and prepared to take on the challenges of life, whether it is higher education or being equipped to be a productive employee.

West Virginia’s state board of education is currently pursuing Common Core State Standards, with a goal of phasing them in by the 2014-2015 school year.

They’ve been adopted by 45 states so far.

The Common Core Mission Statement reads: “The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.”

Interestingly, there has been some resistance. Some want the new standards scrapped, alleging that Common Core strips schools and counties of local oversight while handing over more control to federal government.

They also voice concerns about collecting student data in the name of assessing education standards and performance.

The W.Va. state board has opened a 30-day public comment period for the policies, including revamping math and spelling standards.

We encourage our readers to be informed and be active in these discussions.

It would be good if every school system held its teachers and students to a high standard.

But that just hasn’t been the case.

There may be no other benefit our nation can provide a child than a quality education.

We owe it to our future generations not only to encourage them but to equip them.

We’re certainly not doing them any favors by not holding them to a higher standard.

More information can be found at www.corestandards .org and http://wvde.state.wv .us/next-generation/