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Candidates will take stand against Common Core

Date: 5/8/2015

I’m an engineer, my wife is a doctor, and we are arguing over our second grade daughter’s math homework – a real-life situation of parents expressing their frustration with Common Core.

We spend tens of millions of dollars annually on our schools. We’re willing to pay extra to provide our children a first-class education. But today’s reality is painting a different picture.

A website called “school digger” ranks our schools 165th “best district” in the state for 2014, down from 157 in 2013. The MA Department of Education ranks HWRSD 60th in graduation rates. Latest SAT scores are: Reading – 520 (112th in the state), Writing – 506 (119th in MA) and Math – 539 (119th in MA). Overall we ranked 94th, falling to 105th despite millions more spent. MCAS scores fell 42 percent for the fourth graders since the pilot for Common Core math.

Our school population is trending down, and the administration is fully aware. State aid is declining with ever increasing mandates. Taxpayers are on the hook for a $1 million shortfall after the district took a near equal amount from reserves. All the while, the future use of some school buildings is unknown.

Some School Committee members have voted for Common Core at every turn, but are now claiming they’re disturbed with the trends. They may be trying to take advantage of your sensibilities once again. This is not principled leadership. So on May 16, during town election, we have new choices based on common sense. They deserve your utmost consideration.

Michael Dane