The Independent Record published an op-ed length letter to the editor from former candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction Elaine Herman. While the ostensible purpose of the piece was to persuade readers to support House Bill 377, which would end the implementation of the Common Core Standards in Montana, what it really accomplished was making clear just how important those standards are. You see, the Common State Standards emphasize critical reading skills and developing the ability to craft well-developed arguments. As students progress through their K-12 education under the new standards, they will become more critical consumers of information and better advocates, able to use excellent reasoning, careful use of evidence, and well-turned phrases to persuade their audiences.
Our society hears and reads far too many lazy arguments, couched in logical fallacies, marred by misleading or absent evidence, and driven by partisan ideology. The Common Core Standards will encourage teachers to help their students develop skills that will allow them to persuade without these cheap rhetorical tricks and unfortunate errors.
And they’ll even learn how to use the English language correctly along the way.
As an English teacher working under the Common Core Standards, I believe there’s no more useful tool to help students develop these skills than to provide extensive feedback, giving the students the opportunity to revise their work to the highest level. Given the scope and number of errors in Ms. Herman’s piece, I thought I’d offer her that same service.[pdf-embedder url=”https://themontanapost.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Elaine-Herman-Corrected.pdf”]
I look forward to her revision.