Readers Write: Common Core doesn't dictate teaching style

Letters for the Editor for the June 24, 2013 weekly print issue: 

The US Common Core education standards are simply a description of what students should know and be able to do at each grade level. They are not a curriculum. How these skills are taught is decided by individual schools and districts.

President Obama must do more than 'call China out' on cyber-espionage and theft. China's cyber-theft violates trade agreements with the US. When the Chinese have to start paying a price for their state-supported economic terrorism, they just might take action to stop the cybertheft.

Common Core isn't a teaching style

As a first-grade teacher, I am finding my way around the new US Common Core education standards. I found the May 20 article "The next big learning revolution" on the standards to be timely but a little misleading. The beginning describes a math class in which the teacher is asking probing questions of students instead of giving answers. The article seems to imply that Common Core brings with it a certain way of teaching.

The standards are simply a description of what students should know and be able to do at each grade level. They are not a curriculum. How these skills are taught is decided by individual schools and districts. Some may choose a more direct approach and some may choose a "discovery-based learning" approach, as this math teacher highlighted in the article was using. I appreciate the high standards Common Core gives us educators, and I also appreciate that there is no hidden agenda in the Common Core telling me how to teach.

Sally Bergquist

Olympia, Wash.

Obama must not tolerate China theft

Since President Nixon's historic 1972 trip to China, which opened diplomatic relations with Beijing, Washington has largely ignored China's disregard of copyright and outright theft of US intellectual property as The Monitor's View of May 20 points out ("China's cyber thievery"). The Chinese have stolen US goods – physical and cyber – for so long, they see it as an industry. The US government has only "jawboned" about this diplomatically with little or no penalties. So the theft continues.

President Obama must do more than "call China out" on cyber-espionage and theft. China's cyber-theft violates trade agreements with the United States. A possible short-term solution to China's state-sponsored cybertheft is to levy a cybertheft tariff on all Chinese goods imported into the US and a cybertheft tax on all US goods exported to China. When the Chinese have to start paying a price for their state-supported economic terrorism, they just might take action to stop the cybertheft.

James Patterson

Member, American Foreign Service Association

San Francisco

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