RE Edward L. Glaeser’s June 14 op-ed “Unfounded fear of Common Core”: I was principal of the Graham & Parks Alternative Public School in Cambridge for more than 25 years. During that time, this K-8 school educated its children to high levels, and was chosen as the Disney Spotlight School of the Year in 2000. We were successful before MCAS and No Child Left Behind because we created our own high standards. When those programs came along, we studied them and then ignored them because we knew we could have our own high standards without standardization, and we judged that standardization would lower our achievements.
We developed a variety of assessments — not tests — so that teachers could use them to help improve their work, to show students what they had learned and help them develop their own understanding of quality work, and to inform parents in detail of their children’s progress.
MCAS and No Child Left Behind have distorted education. Schools now teach to the test, and have narrowed the curriculum to do so. Music, art, the social sciences, and other activities have been diminished.
Many educators correctly see No Child Left Behind as the worst turn American education has ever taken, and rightly see the Common Core as a continuation and expansion of that terrible mistake.