Letter: Cloudy Issues

Your November 21 cover story titled "The War on Teachers 2" [by Cari Wade Gervin, Nov. 21, 2013] reflects a disturbing trend in civil discourse. Instead of arguing facts logically and civilly, Metro Pulse chose to engage in fear-mongering, anger, and resentment.

A 2009 study by Harvard University reported that American students ranked 25th in math an science among 34 countries. A 2012 Harvard study found that students in other industrial countries were making academic gains two and three times faster than American students and that American gains were hardly remarkable by world standards. Numerous other studies have been reporting the declining overall performance of public education in the United States for many years.

A majority of educators nationwide believes that drastic changes are needed to reverse the trend of declining educational results in our country. Notwithstanding that Metro Pulse and the teachers it supports dislike Common Core Standards, it has been accepted nationwide as an educational method preferable to the current system that produces poor overall results. Its stated mission is to "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" and to eliminate the patchwork educational standards and methods among the states.

Knox County teachers who oppose Common Core Standards have been vocal, which is their right and civic duty. If they can influence improvements on Common Core's methods, they will have achieved something important. But Metro Pulse clouds the issue by calling this new educational approach a "war" and accusing Common Core supporters of waging war against teachers. Nobody is targeting teachers for battle. No person or group has said "Let's fight against our teachers."

This so-called "war" is simply various people and groups expressing different views of how to solve a serious nationwide problem and seeking a suitable solution. The war within our country is against civil discourse, and Metro Pulse participates in it by publishing inflammatory articles such as "War on Teachers."

Bill Stack


Ed. Note: As reported in the article, much of the unprecedented push-back by Knox County teachers actually centers around the school system's new teacher evaluation processes; most of the teacher complaints of Common Core were about the program's implementation.