School Talk

No Diane. That’s Not Even Close To What’s Happening In His Classroom

Many of us agreed last week that Diane Ravitch got it very wrong in her New York Times piece about Common Core. In fact, some even questioned how in the world the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and other outlets can even give her a platform considering how riddled with inaccuracies her writing has become.

Well, this teacher from Nevada certainly doesn’t see his classroom or his students in Ravitch’s description of Common Core; on the contrary, he sees his students more challenged and his teaching getting better.

Maybe next time Ravitch will reach out to him before she pens a piece that leaves out the opinions of countless teachers who spend their days teaching precisely what she uses misinformation to condemn.

Below is the full text of the letter by Hayes that appears in today’s New York Times written by a veteran classroom teacher in response to Diane Ravitch.

To the Editor: Diane Ravitch argues that the Common Core standards have created a “sense of failure” among children. Here’s what I know, as an educator with two decades of experience who teaches the Common Core every day: Higher standards don’t create a sense of failure. They create a sense of possibility that lifts children to their full potential.

Here’s some of the “hopelessness” I’ve seen in my second graders recently: Abril is reading and writing independently, even while she builds her English skills. Brandon is hooked on learning about everything from insects to American history.
My class engages in rousing discussions about the abolitionist movement. We don’t do test prep, but my students are prepared for any test, because they’re challenged every day.
This doesn’t happen overnight. Many schools across the country are just starting to move from the dumbed-down standards of the past, and that takes time. It will take time to see growth on harder tests, too. But if we don’t raise the bar, we’ll never close those achievement gaps.
The Common Core has re-energized my teaching. I finally feel that I’m doing the right thing for my students. And my students are benefiting as a result.


Reno, Nev.

We should all be grateful to teachers like Mr. Hayes who have the courage to stand up to powerful people who, unfortunately, have chosen to use their power to mislead and malign. I can only hope that Ravitch and her minions will reflect on the possibility that their broad brush descriptions look nothing like reality for a great many educators and students.

But I’ve learned by now not to hold my breath.

What do you think?

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