According to the Society of Professional Journalists, journalists have a special responsibility: "To ensure that the concept of self-government outlined by the U.S. Constitution remains a reality into future centuries, the American people must be well informed in order to make decisions regarding their lives, and their local and national communities. It is the role of journalists to provide this information in an accurate, comprehensive, timely and understandable manner."
When I read the column by Blaine Luetkemeyer about the Common Core State Standards and read Philip Todd's follow-up letter praising the representative's column, I thought to myself, here is another attack job coming on public education. I am a retired educator. I have seen such attacks many times before, and the results more often than not fail to be constructive.
My questions now are these:
Will the public know what is going on? Will our News Tribune act to help enlighten us? Will it live up to the responsibilities of journalists as advocated by the Society of Professional Journalists? Also, will we the public be responsible citizens and live up to our responsibility to enlighten ourselves before rushing to judgment.
I have seen this paper cover a number of local issues in an admirable, professional manner. The issue of Common Core Standards is a local issue in Jefferson City because our state Board of Education and our state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education have supported them. In addition, members of our Department of Education, like those in other state departments of education, have participated in helping to write them.
Information about the standards for both educators and parents has been public knowledge for the past few years. To learn about those standards, which pertain primarily to English literacy and mathematics skills, people should go to these websites: http://www.corestandards.org/ (national) and http://dese.mo.gov/divimprove/curriculum/Common_Core.html (Missouri).
In addition, the News Tribune should do some research, provide samples of the standards, and interview informed people from the state Department of Education and from local school districts with regard to the standards.
In the meantime, readers should be suspicious of many of the attacks on the standards because talking points for attack are on the web for people to use, and those doing the attacks may be poorly informed about what they are attacking.
In many cases, their attacks are based on political agendas, not on the best interests of our young people.