Mother’s Letter Brazenly Calls Out Obama On Common Core


April 25, 2014 9:03am PST

Reports keep surfacing about the insane reasoning that went into creating the Common Core curriculum. Not many parents are fans of it and one mother, who also happens to be a writer and supporter of standardized curriculums, penned an open letter to President Obama criticizing the tests that her daughter is required to take and asked if he would like his daughter Sasha to have to take such poorly worded tests.

Rebecca Steinitz is an editor, writer, and literary consultant in urban high schools. Steinitz has a Ph.D in English and was an English professor at Ohio’s Wesleyan University, so if she’s saying there’s a problem with the Common Core tests then maybe people should be taking note.

Obama’s daughters attend private school in Washington D.C. and therefore they’re not required to take the Common Core tests, which is the basis for Steinitz’s argument.

(Mother Banned From Son’s School After Speaking Out Against Common Core)

She started her letter by voicing her support for nationwide standardization of curriculums in order for them to be “rigorous, challenging, and engaging” and she believes that Common Core could achieve that.

“But the standards won’t succeed if the tests used to assess them are confusing, developmentally inappropriate, and so hard that even good students can’t do well on them. Setting high standards and effectively teaching them is a fine route to success; setting children up to fail because of ineffective tests is not,” she said.

From her daughter’s seventh-grade exam, Steinitz cited one of the questions that was asked.

“You have learned about electricity by reading two articles, ‘Energy Story’ and ‘Conducting Solutions,’ and viewing a video clip titled ‘Hands-On Science with Squishy Circuits.’ In an essay, compare the purpose of the three sources. Then analyze how each source uses explanations, demonstrations, or descriptions of experiments to help accomplish its purpose. Be sure to discuss important differences and similarities between the information gained from the video and the information provided in the articles. Support your response with evidence from each source.”

“It’s impossible, and there’s like 15 parts,” her daughter said to her about the question.

So she used this question to ask the President “Can you figure out what you’re supposed to be doing here, President Obama? And could you have done it in seventh grade?”

(7-Year-Old Outsmarts Ridiculously Stupid Common Core Question)

Later in the letter, after further explaining why she presented that question she referenced another question, only this time it came from a third-grade exam.

“Old Mother West Wind and the Sandwitch both try to teach important lessons to characters in the stories. Write an essay that explains how Old Mother West Wind’s and the Sandwitch’s words and actions are important to the plots of the stories. Use what you learned about the characters to support your essay.”

She had a very blunt question for the President after citing this question in order to drive her point home. “Would Sasha have been able to figure this out in third grade? And, more importantly, is there any reason a third grader should have to figure out an essay prompt this broad and abstract?”

While explaining her concerns she noted how her daughter would react to the questions, listing off verbatim what she had said to her mother then asked Obama “Wouldn’t you be concerned if you heard these reactions from Sasha?”

Steinitz closed her letter by making the same point that many other parents who have spoken out against Common Core have made.

“But the standards won’t succeed if the tests used to assess them are confusing, developmentally inappropriate, and so hard that even good students can’t do well on them. Setting high standards and effectively teaching them is a fine route to success; setting children up to fail because of ineffective tests is not.

Eva, Sasha, and all of America’s children deserve better.”

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The full text of the letter is below:

Open Letter


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