Mercer: Common Core standards good for SC students

08/01/2014 12:00 AM

07/31/2014 6:51 PM

I appreciated Cindi Scoppe’s column on our state superintendent of education (“Boy, did I ever misjudge this candidate,” Wednesday). It seems to me sometimes that she is the voice of one crying in the wilderness in this state, but it is possible that she is the representation of a very quiet majority.

Educators, particularly teachers, are so caught up in our work during the day and our families at night that we often fail to see the vital connection and influence politics have on the work we do. If we could just get greater numbers of ourselves to pay attention, voice an opinion to our representatives and vote, we would not have to fight even our own leadership.

I am so grateful that the few South Carolinians who made it to the primary election polls have presented us with two solid candidates for the state superintendent’s position from among a field of so many with dubious experience and goals.

In the meantime, the State Department of Education’s effort to rewrite our education standards without at least looking at the Common Core is taking a step backward and certainly not what the Legislature required per my reading of the law. We have written curriculum, trained teachers and are seeing the results already: students more highly engaged in their learning and realizing the relevance and rigor of the exercise. Results continue their upward trend, as well. Quite a few veteran teachers have told me this is what we should have been doing all along.

Has anyone ever noticed that the attacks on the state standards were based primarily on “federal intrusion” (which is also subject to debate) rather than on the standards themselves? I agree that they are not perfect and that there is too much reliance on testing, but our teachers and students have been challenged by the increased rigor and expectations. What a shame to not even allow a copy to be in the room while our state standards are being revised/rewritten.

I appreciate Ms. Scoppe’s willingness not to be swayed by popular opinion or the loudest voices. We need media who are honest enough to admit a mistake and who will take the time to truly research a topic before publicly offering their thoughts.

Scott Mercer


Spartanburg School District Two


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