Letter Best: Common Core

April 20, 2014 

The Richland School Board and district administration recently proposed using Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSAs) to help with the paradigm shift to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) testing.

Having been on five CCSS panels for the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and one national Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium committee (authoring passages, creating test questions and reviewing online materials), I am aware of the shifts in rigor and critical thinking skills that are being demanded by the CCSS.

These standards are a result of the governors from 46 states realizing that few students will be rooted in one city or employed at one job for the duration of their careers. Therefore, to be fair to all students and to be globally competitive, we must set higher standards for educating U.S. children.

Richland's superintendent is cognizant that teachers need time and help to create rigorous materials and to assess student learning in keeping with CCSS. Teachers working together with TOSAs is an effective model that is working in districts throughout our state. As one who has logged a few thousand miles traveling between Seattle and Richland and talking to educators from all over, I know that Richland schools are on the right track.

SANDRA K. STROUP, Richland

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