letters | common core draws attention

Push for education standards has reduced huge inequities

The outcry against Common Core standards needs to be met by a voice of reason. Just such a perspective was presented by Edward L. Glaeser in his June 14 op-ed “Unfounded fear of Common Core.”

When I hear critics of standards, I am reminded of my early years teaching in Boston public schools. In 1970, depending on what school you were teaching in, you could have access to books and materials or not. For students in some schools, filling in workbooks and worksheets and occupying a seat was what passed for earning a diploma.


Some years later, as a coordinator of middle school language arts under a federal grant, I continued to witness a huge range in what was offered to students and what was expected of them. For some, there was no writing on a regular basis, just practice on sheets to “remedy weaknesses.” Meanwhile, in other happier schools, teachers saw the value in daily writing exercises .

The movement that established state standards and now national standards is one of many reforms that has helped reduce those inequities.

Get Arguable with Jeff Jacoby in your inbox:
Our conservative columnist offers a weekly take on everything from politics to pet peeves.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Recently, as a supervisor for student teachers in graduate study at UMass Boston, I saw strong evidence of how high standards inform classroom teaching. My team of teachers works at the Harbor School, a pilot school in Dorchester where high expectations and standards are clearly stated for all students, not just those pre-selected to excel.

None of my novice teachers thinks that meeting the standards is easy, and all had empathy for students who have to struggle to succeed. But the fact that high standards are embedded in the classroom culture every day brings every student into a world that promotes higher-order thinking and learning.

Nancy O’Malley


Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.
You're reading  1 of 5 free articles.
Get UNLIMITED access for only 99¢ per week Subscribe Now >
You're reading1 of 5 free articles.Keep scrolling to see more articles recomended for you Subscribe now
We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to Globe.com for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com