Editor, Times-Union:
On Saturday, January 11, I attended the Common Core informational meeting hosted by Warsaw Community Schools. This meeting was reviewed in the Times-Union on Monday, January, 13, 2014. This was a very informative meeting regarding the Common Core standards, and more importantly, the direction in which Indiana intends to head.
As a teacher in the Wawasee Community Schools, and a parent of two Warsaw Community School students, I was most concerned with the comments of Dr. Terrence Moore, a history professor at Hillsdale College. He also works to set up classical charter schools. As quoted in the Times-Union, Dr. Moore stated, “The main thing I have to do in training teachers who have been in the public school establishment is to think about how to undo all the things that they got in their training. The training that doesn’t prepare them how to teach students in the right way in math, in grammar, what have you.”
In defense of public school teachers, I find that statement to be offensive. As a 16-year public school teaching veteran, I have taught math, grammar, reading, and writing. Within the public schools, “the right way in math, in grammar, what have you” is dictated by a state-mandated list of curriculum choices. Within a charter school, curriculum choices are handled differently. Obviously, if Dr. Moore is involved in the design of charter schools, he has a specific type of teaching that he wants in his schools. This does not mean, however, that all teachers are not well-trained. Blanket statements such as the one made by Dr. Moore fail to recognize so many different elements of teaching. Public schools accept every student, as they should. This acceptance creates many challenges within the classroom. Teacher effectiveness is influenced by the teacher, but it also influenced by lack of parent involvement, a family’s value of education, drug use, and student interest in learning.
As the Common Core standards are discussed, it is important to remember that these standards were not chosen by teachers, but instead voted on and handed to corporations to be taught. Public school teachers continue to take what is decided for them and do their best.  The teachers that I work with and know outside of my own building take their jobs very seriously. The degradation of teachers by people who are not in the classroom on a daily basis is discouraging to say the least.
I would ask parents to support their children’s teachers, not only within the classroom, but also at the state level. Left on their own, state officials, including the state education committee, make decisions based on what they hear. Often the only ones speaking to them are those who do not believe in public schools and public education.
Respectfully,
Shellie Miller
Warsaw, via email